Surfing Beijing

It's Saturday--four days left in this trip.

I'm living out of my suitcase, in the home of a friend in Beijing. My host family left for Mongolia early this morning, so I'm staying with her until I fly home. I was way more emotional than I thought I'd be when the time came to say good-bye. Giving the three kids their final hugs was the worst part--especially since I know how kids grow, and they'll be so different the next time I see them! I'm slowly severing my ties to China, one at a time.

Beijing is crazy--it's totally different from Xining.
I honestly feel like I'm back in the west. There's fast food places everywhere, and I even went to Wal-Mart yesterday. Even the way the city has developed reminds me of a big city back home. The traffic here is insane, so it's hard to get anywhere without it taking an hour or two. I already miss Qinghai food--even that disgusting salty tea you get served instead of water at most local restaurants. 

However, I did finally muster my courage enough to go to the touristy markets and buy some gifts for people back home--something I've meant to do all summer and just never had the chance. Want a tip? If you shop at a Chinese market, particularly in Beijing, haggle. Some of the things I wanted I ended up getting for as much as 200 kuai less than they were originally. I still need stuff for a few people, but here's the loot so far:

I've barely had time to knit this week, but every now and then I did manage to pick up the needles while stuck in traffic. I feel like I should name this my Taxi Hat, since it's been constructed entirely from the backseat of one thus far! I normally hate colorwork--but who can resist a little intarsia when you have scraps to use up?

Finally, a little sneak peek of something else I've been working on, and spent most of my morning attempting to photograph:
You'll be hearing more about that sooner than later. ;)

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I should put in my carry-on. 
Any good suggestions for a potential plane knitting project?

I have nearly twenty hours to fill...

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