After walking through the maze of Hutongs and around the train station with offset maps, we finally found the park we were looking for. Continue reading Thursday Doors (on Friday): Beijing City Wall
Before our trip to Asia, I read Paul French’s Midnight in Peking, about the unsolved murder of a young British woman in prewar Peking. Much of the shadier action in that book takes place in the city’s hutongs, a type of narrow street or alley commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, especially Beijing.
Our first afternoon in Beijing my husband got an alert about an “FTF” (first to find) opportunity. A new geocache had been published in the city, but not found yet. Geocaches are relatively rare in China in the first place, and this author makes the point that you are trying to find those few caches amidst a billion muggles.
Another problem with geocaching in China is the “great firewall.” Google maps, Apple maps, and the geocaching apps that are based on them, do not work there. If you try to use one of these internet maps, it has an offset. For example, my app, Cachly, showed the cache almost 0.3 miles from its true location.
Fortunately, when the subject is geocaching, my husband is prepared. Before we left he did some research, and found that OpenStreetMaps, with user-created data, would still work in China. See this discussion thread for more details about the problems with using online maps in China. No matter what map we were using, however, we were directed around the main train station, and that meant hutongs! We set off. This would be a feather in our cap: two Anglos from California get an FTF in Beijing!
The first doors as we approached the station did look a little sketchy. The air wasn’t too bad, we could see blue sky, but the weather was still very hot and dusty. Many people were riding scooters and they could be seen parked outside.
People were friendly and one tried to help but didn’t speak English. They seemed bemused more than anything else by foreigners wandering around outside the station looking at their phones. They were less amused when we tried to buy water with a 100-Yuan note. And I don’t think we wanted to see what this public bathroom looked like on the inside.
As we went on, we started to see more welcoming storefronts and doors.
Eventually, all our water already gone, we did get to the park where the cache was to be found. More doors next week!
This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing doors from my recent trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays.
This week was the start of a busy end-of-school-year time. From my son’s birthday in late May onward, it usually doesn’t let up until we go on vacation. My son turned 14 this year, and I took him and some friends to see Guardians of the Galaxy II. I’d already seen it, so I went to find a geocache nearby behind the Googleplex. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Platform
Driving around the North Bay near Suisun City, we came upon a geocache called (ironically, as it turned out) “Beautiful Downtown Denverton.” According to the geocache page description, “in 1878 the town [of Denverton] had a store and a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright, a meat market, a hotel, a school-house, and a Good Templars Hall.” Continue reading Mundane Monday: Broken Path
I took this photo a few weeks ago, on a geocaching trip. The view is from Rio Vista, on the Sacramento River. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Rio Vista
Back in the 1990s when I was a graduate student at Stanford, Mountain View meant one of two things to me: good international restaurants on Castro St, and Hangar One on the NASA/Ames Research Center Campus on Moffett Field. Continue reading Thursday Doors: NASA Ames
This past weekend was Earth Day in the United States. There were marches in support of science in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which I agreed with and supported, but didn’t end up going to. I am an introvert and don’t like crowds. Continue reading Mundane Monday: CITO Events
Last month my husband and I drove east and north to Yuba City and environs to find some geocaches. We encountered a different California from Silicon Valley, where we live. Continue reading Thursday Doors: Farm Country
On alternating Wednesdays, I drive up the Peninsula to teach a class at a middle school in Brisbane CA. Brisbane is a small town, pronounced Briz-bane (not “BRIZ-bin” like its namesake) just south of SFO airport. In spite of my having gone to graduate school at Stanford in the 1990s, I had never heard of it until I started teaching there this time around.