November 11 & 12
When I first found out I would be coming to Beijing I secretly wished it would be like a mini holiday. Sleep in, do a bit of sightseeing, do some shopping, watch a few movies on my laptop, catch up on this blog, and maybe even do some actual writing — and I don’t mean the articles I’m paid to write.
Well, talk about wishful thinking. As it turned out it’s been anything but an easy ride. There are articles to write and press conferences and interviews to attend, and it’s been pretty full on with the early morning starts and late night finishes.
The last couple of days have been about settling into a routine. I get up, take a shower and go downstairs to the basement for a shitty hotel breakfast where I have nothing except reconstituted orange juice and plain white buns because everything else looks gross and could potentially make me vomit.
Then I work on an article in the hotel room and pack my belongings (as I like to lock everything up before I leave) which takes me to around noon (depending on how much analysis and research I have to do), then I go across the road to the mall for lunch, after which I head off to the media center for a press conference. The press conferences are long and boring and full of propaganda, and not much is useful until they open up for questions, and even then it’s not a guarantee.
When the press conference concludes I start working on another article and upload the photos I’ve taken, if any. I hang out at the journalist lounge sometimes and chat with the other reporters for a little while before heading back the hotel or if there is another press conference later in the night I’ll stay for that as well. Ether way by the time I get back I’m exhausted, and usually I’ll try to relax by watching a movie/NBA or writing a blog post, though to be honest writing is usually the last thing on my mind at that stage (but as you can see I persevere).
The worst part about the day is without a doubt the travelling on the subway to and from the media center. Line one is the busiest line in Beijing, and standing for eight stops packed like a sardine is not something I look forward to.
But on the whole I try to remain positive and absorb as much of the experience as possible. I just miss my family, that’s all.