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2003-12-30 - 9:03 a.m.

sorry youtai ren(jewish people), hanukkah has been nowhere in sight. b and i spent christmas day crawling around the forbidden city's hutongs and courts. due to the season, there are very few western tourists, fewer tourists in general, which made the afternoon more surreal and even more special. i warned b we would be aggressively accosted to purchase books, maps, tours, etc. so if they pulled out an english map, we would start speaking french, and english when they'd immediately pull out french.

just being on the grounds was amazing. from the outer to innercourts, we laughed and took pictures. and we found the most solace in the garden with the dog-lion and elephant sculptures.

then as we kept walking north to exit the palace, we headed to jingshan park. we heard. "hey mister, look look." so i said, "it's not mister, it's ms and it's not look look, it's please look." if they are going to harrass foreigners, they should do it correctly. that is actually when they thank me and leave us alone and i instantly feel the progress of sino-US relations.

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