I am back in the saddle in Beijing. It is early, of course, but so far it feels quite natural and only a little disconcerting. Certainly, landing at he airport here felt, if not quite like coming home, very non-exotic. Having Mr. Lu, our friendly, loyal, slightly sketchy black cab driver waiting for me was nice.

I am staying at a friend’s house in Quan Fa, a compound across the street from Riviera, where we lived. Yesterday afternoon I rode a bike over to Riviera and it felt nice to be there, but it also looked dustier and more drab than I remembered. The monochromaticism of this whole place is really striking — and a reminder of just why I was so moved by the brilliant colors of spring in Maplewood, as per earlier posts.

Everything is brown, grey and covered in dust, even now.

Our friends Jim and Theo have moved into our house and I thought going over there would be really odd, but it wasn’t actually. I was happy to see them there and with their stuff in place it looked like their house, not ours, in a good way.

I have always said that I am glad that I kept this blog and wrote my columns because they served as proof — even to myself — that I really did everything, that it was not just some crazy fever dream. I feel that way more than ever now. Everything is so familiar and yet… I don’t quite have a place in the firmament here anymore.

I had a nice reunion with a few friends over dinner last night, but we went for a nice outdoor hang at the Pomegranate, a Western food pub, not really the grub I am craving. I am looking forward to digging into some great Chinese food, though I figure I might have to take it a little easier than I am used to. Maybe my stomach is no longer used to local flora.

I am about to have a nice Cantonese lunch… dumplings and wonton/noodle shrimp soup. Then head down for a rehearsal. Hopefully it’s like riding a bike and hopefully I won’t keel over too early tonight because the Woodie Alan CD Release and Reunion tour kicks off tonight at the Stone Boat in Ritan Park, always one of my favorite spots and just the second place we ever played, I think.

The Beijinger blog did a nice interview with me.

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