Off to China!

I’m wildly excited about going to China! I wish I’d prepared more! I don’t know how to say anything, or what the geology is, and I was going to re-read Playing For Thrills and a whole bunch of the history of Beijing, and and and! Think of all the classical literature I have read and forgotten again. 10 years ago I was on a kick where I read all the big fat books like The Scholars and Journey to the West and especially Story of the Stone and the Outlaws of the Marsh. I wish it were all fresh in my mind. At least I will never forget Wu Song killing the tiger, or that one scene with Hsi-men Ching and Golden Lotus and the plum. You see I remember only the most important things.

I have downloaded some podcasts instead with phrasebook lessons. I could read Playing for Thrills on the plane.

It makes me feel like a boring grownup, not to be properly wound up and brimming with knowledge.

Instead I have power converters and many cables and a power strip and a tiny phrasebook that is unlikely to be useful.

Instead I have the ghosts of the memories of literature, which will be useful only for vague daydreams in a huge city of smog and glass and concrete and 15 million people!

I will be in the XinHai JinJiang Hotel, which has its own bowling alley and is on Jin Bao Street which I can’t find on any maps!

I see many warnings in books and online that Beijing is not accessible, that there are no ramps or lifts, wheelchairs are too expensive for regular people, that there are many major roads that you can’t cross without walkways or tunnels and stairs… Well! There will be taxis.

Guidebooks are really no help.

I walked a lot yesterday and today, despite it hurting. I thought maybe pushing past it would help. Is it helping or hurting?

No… wait… we are in the North Garden Hotel instead and apparently that is right next to or actually in an enormous mall called Oriental Plaza. The conference is in the other hotel.

I am going to set out with low expectations of being able to get around. I’ll go to Tiananmen Square and see if I can get into any museums.

The Summer Palace is very tempting, and reportedly accessible.

Also from the little I have read about being disabled in Beijing, people will think it extremely strange to see someone in a wheelchair out by themselves. So I will be extra strange-looking.

Maybe I will go read Moving Violations a bit instead of guidebooks, to nerve myself.

I am going to have to draw my own maps and take a lot of notes about where I went and what was accessible!

It is possible I will have the most fun just hanging around talking with random strangers who will accost me and have many questions about my hair.

I think it’s extremely odd that the 2008 Paralympics page doesn’t have any wheelchairs on it! Check it out!

The photo of the guy under the heading “torch relay” even has a weird swooshy logo on top of it, exactly to hide his wheelchair! Do you think maybe the creators of the site felt that a wheelchair would be embarrassing? Like how FDR would carefully stand up for his photographs, to avoid having the wheelchair in the photo?

There are some photos of the barrier-free facilities, which look interesting and sort of trendy.

Missing from the 2008 Paralympics site: any information about how to get around, or accessible places to go in Beijing. Also missing, information about the teams and athletes.

I really like the pictograms!

There is an article on access in the city, Beijing becoming a disability-friendly city. I have also been reading this site on disability activism in China, China Disabled Persons’ Federation. They look super organized – I like their list of tasks for its clarity. Note that independent living is not on the list of tasks!

I will likely add some notes and information on here on Wikitravel.

And I can’t wait to take pictures. Of all the things I like to take pictures of, like signs, graffiti, patterns, architecture that is very busy and organic and hodgepodge, or just anything I want to remember the day by.

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3 Responses to “Off to China!”

  1. lyssa

    I love to take pictures of signs, especially when they have iconography. Japan is awesome for cartoon illustrations, especially when danger is involved.

  2. Rook

    Do you have a link for the conference?

  3. jenijen

    Have a fabulous time!

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