Sunday July 20. Katie’s birthday. I have brunch with her unofficial “godfather”, Mark Ma and his wife at Grandma’s Kitchen, right around the corner. Wonderful American brunch, pancakes, eggs, and good company. Mark has Olympic tickets, lots of them, so hopefully he will have a few for me to give to
Monday I go to the
Tuesday, I go into NBC and log tapes, one of an interview with a Feng Shui master who is a specialist in numerology.
Wednesday. Into NBC, log more tapes, get some help setting up a few freelance stories from the very generous NBC staffers. At 3 I leave for an interview with lawyer PU. He was one of the 42 intellectuals who signed a letter to the government after
Thursday, into NBC and log a great interview with Dai Qing, a sixty-ish, passionate environmentalist who came into the NBC bureau for the interview. She is so angry about the Olympics and Beijing putting on a show for outsiders while their own citizens need help…. and diverting water from poor farmers in Hebei to water the golf courses and build water paradises for Olympic rowers and on and on and on. Right ON! Two days in a row I’m meeting my kind of people. Where have you been all my life here? Log a few more tapes until my ears feel like they are falling off and head home at 3 to take a nap. I’ve been up until almost every night working, and being attacked by kamikaze mosquitoes all night long (that come in through the air conditioning vents) so I am wiped out. Eve and Stefanie are supposed to come for dinner. I need sounds of Peking Duck being cooked, so I want to take them to a nice place, but they are woefully late, arrive after 9. So after they kill a massive, 2-3 inch cock roach, in my gorgeous, clean, upscale kitchen (first one I’ve ever seen here) we head out for Mexican food. They have never had Mexican food, and have no idea what to order so I get a sample of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. They are each given a knife and fork and proceed to try to cut the hard corn tortilla with a knife and eat it with a fork, before I realize what is going on. They have almost never eaten without chopsticks, so Eve asks the waitress for chopsticks, but there are none, so she gets a spoon instead and eats it that way. Very, very funny.
Friday, stay home all day and work. Here and Now wants my story on wushu, and The World, inexplicably, has sent me back an edited version of the Kashgar story, that they nixed last week. So I am guessing that one has been resurrected, but in the meantime I’ve sent a print version of Kashgar to the Christian Science Monitor, so I am not sure I can sell this to both. In the good old days, this is how freelancers survived, selling essentially the same story to a few different clients. But now, with the internet, the Monitor contract has me sign away all the rights for audio, video, stills, and copy, forever. So I think I need to clue everyone in and see if this is kosher. Friday night Celine and I go to return an appliance that someone has given Elizabeth, a mixer, food processor and blender all in one, that doesn’t work. So we schlep the appliance across town in a big box, only to have the salesgirl flick one piece of the machine and it works fabulously. So we schlep it home, and stop at Annie’s for an Italian dinner, with the blender occupying one seat at the table for four…
Saturday – Stefanie comes by to retrieve the cell phone she left here, and I enlist her to come with me to buy