Although it sometimes felt as if we had no time to ourselves, with all the things we were out doing, there was some down time. We learned to enjoy them whenever we could.
Kaktos Coffee (仙人掌咖啡), where we first discovered the ¥9 bottles of Tsingtao (青島啤酒), was our primary hangout. It was in Building 0, where only one subgroup of us would end up staying, thanks to the Treasury Department of Jin City, Shanxi Province.
The first day Ted, Aaron, and I arrived, we devoured those bottles of Tsingtao. We came back the next morning wondering aloud whether or not it had been restocked. That comment alerted Mark and Diane that we were Americans, and from there on we began making friends with people in the program. By the way, the beer had, indeed, been restocked. Indeed, at one point, they removed one column of Heineken to make room for the Tsingtao.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, Aaron and Mark demonstrated the "Asian squat" as we left the Forbidden City.
There were so many leftovers after the welcome banquet that we were able to have a "leftovers party" of our own, complete with "1.8s".
Sara loves balling.
At $0.25 each, we had to make sure we maximized our marginal utility for "1.8s".
Ted blending in with the locals.
Another place that quickly became a hangout, especially since it was on the same side of the street as the hotel that many students ended up staying at, was Sculpting in Time (雕刻時光), a chain cafe dealing in Western fare. This particular one had a nice atmosphere, but the service was practically non-existent. They have trouble dealing with large orders involving people who don't speak the language.
Claudio strikes a GQ pose in front of Sculpting in Time at night.
Not until near the end, when everyone was, I suppose, finally tired from doing all sorts of things, that all four roommates were able to spend pretty much an entire day chilling together.
It was so chill that Ted and Aaron fell asleep, and it took a little while to get Ted up.
Kaktos Coffee was a popular hangout for locals as well, such as this beauty.
She's beautiful at Starbucks, too.
The people of Beijing have adapted to modern traffic conditions in different ways.
Ted is sad to leave.
Sara loves balls.
The crew at Kaktos Coffee before calling it a night. They were up again early in the morning the next day, when Ted, Aaron and I left.
Our last night of chilling together.