My Neighborhood: Sanlitun, the Embassies, and Sanyuanli

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It hit me this weekend, as the weather gods looked down favorably upon the residents of Beijing, as I happily jogged and biked around my blue-and-green neighborhood, that I haven’t shared much at all about the area I live in! So here it is, a photographic collage of my new home surroundings:

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The alley behind my apartment building: long, verdant, bike-filled, and normally packed with little old ladies and their dogs, or groups of elderly playing mahjong.

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And your standard pile of junk and trash that greets me on my way out.

Turn left upon exiting my apartment building and you are welcomed by ever-stretching tree-lined streets home to the majority of Beijing’s embassies. Here are some favorite shots.

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UNICEF, my neighbor.

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Cheers, the ubiquitous Chinese wine and beer chain. Their slogan: “Cheers makes you smile!”

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An American diner just under our apartment. I still haven’t been there… I pride myself on making enough unhealthy American things at home, I don’t need to go out for them 😉

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Notice the potted plants above lomography? Our home!

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My favorite embassy by far, the Belgian, for this poster of Tintin escaping a Chinese ceramic vase.

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Schwanky expat grocery stores EVERYWHERE. Pictured here, the “Friendship Supermarket.”

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The yellow building is a French école maternelle!

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High security embassy buildings.

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Soldiers galore in embassy-land! See how safe I am here, ma? 😉

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Everywhere in Beijing, you will see these characters dressed in orange, cycling around and doing a variety of maintenance jobs (picking up trash, pruning the bushes, etc.)

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Just a piece of trash I found on the dock. I also found it humorous.

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The river just north of my neighborhood. It WOULD be a good place to jog, if it wasn’t obstructed by the third ring road here, construction there! Grr. And why are the trees painted white? But it IS pretty gorgeous, isn’t it?

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Men fishing at the river. Safe to each fish from Beijing’s waters? Skeptical. But notice their umbrella hats. How fashionable!

[Interlude to explain Chinese culture and umbrellas. There are more umbrellas out during the sunny months than any other time of year. The Chinese value fair skin, so you will see everyone (women, especially) carrying umbrellas while bicycling or walking around and covering themselves with shawls and sweaters despite the ridiculous heat. The sunscreens, lotions, and body washes contain chemicals to bleach your skin, which Colleen and I accidentally purchased, so expect my skin to be pastier than ever when you next see me…. But by Chinese standards, I will be beautiful!]

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Just a scoach farther north is Sanyuanli Market. Despite my love of markets, this weekend marked my first trip to Sanyuanli, a market touted for having all your expat needs. Now that I realize I’m about a 5-minute bike ride away, I feel rather sheepish. On my first visit, I discovered a delightful-looking French bakery, an award-winning fromagerie (Chinese cheese-maker bringing down awards in Paris!), established MY nut/dried fruit vendor (generous samples = I am yours), made a friend in the produce section, and discovered the most exciting imported cheese selection I have yet to encounter in Beijing. Praise be!

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I picked up some mulberries to make my first crisp of the season last weekend! I didn’t even realize they were mulberries. I have been calling them Chinese blackberries. The things you discover abroad!

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How they do meat here. Yum. Nonetheless, I picked up the least sketchy fish I have yet seen in BJ. Made Colleen and me a nice salmon meal. Yum 🙂

6.13.15 Salmon bake 2    6.13.15 Salmon bake 4

Turn right out of my apartment complex and you are greeted with more embassies, malls, more malls, and the most ridiculous bar/club strip in Beijing. I cycle by this every night, and have yet to enter in a single one of these establishments. Why did I choose to live here again? 😉

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The Moroccan embassy, just across the street. Makes me nostalgic for my March 2014 visit… (and yet so much barbed wire!)

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It looks so calm and lovely by day and then at night…

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One of my favorite buildings, Nali Patio, featuring Moka Bros (GREAT café), Miga’s (featured lunch in Finding Balance and Strength, location of the rooftop salsa classes… and just around the corner!), and a spectacular, artistic courtyard.

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The mojito stand! Mojitos on-the-go made with fresh fruit for 15 RMB (that’s about $2.50). Yessss.

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The sweet musician who plays on our block day-in, day-out. Hearing him play Christmas tunes on this traditional Chinese instrument is always pretty hilarious.

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I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my neighborhood! It’s not the hutongs, but it’s also a great, exciting place to be.

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