Me and Chairman Mao
  Confucious Say.
From the people who brought you the Don't Pick the Flowers sign, I bring you this bit of Ancient Chinese Wisdom:

How True This Is

On a side note, this sign is actually only about twenty feet away from the aforementioned flowers sign in the gardens at the back of the Forbidden City--I just didn't notice it last time. Apparently, the garden is a wisdom-heavy area. It's not surprising, since the trees and running water--note that as it is freezing here there is currently no running water whatsoever--do make it easy to just hang out and contemplate things like the meaning of life. Oh, and think up ancient Chinese wisdom. Although of course, when the Emperor / Son of Heaven and his various peeps--poets, musicians, eunuchs, concubines, whoever--were doing it, it was just "wisdom." (Much like Chinese food here is just, well, "food.")

Anyway, the garden does make it quite easy to sit around and just think. Even for me …

The Thinker

Hmmm, beer. On a BCTE (Best Christmas Tree Ever) note, last night I was in a taxi going home when I looked out the window and what did I see? No sleigh, no reindeer, but another Heineken Tree! (Take that, Dr. Seuss!) Apparently, Christmas in Beijing is brought to you by Heineken, which is actually okay with me. Better than by Hamms or Old English or something, at any rate.

This tree was much smaller--only three levels--and was, fittingly, right on the corner of Sanlitun road, also affectionately known to foreigners and Chinese alike as "Bar Street." For a glorious moment or two, I thought it was actually unguarded, which would be odd since, as I have mentioned more than once, pretty much everything here is guarded.

(In fact, my new theory--possibly on its way to becoming Ancient Chinese Wisdom--is that unemployed kids wake up; put on whatever guard uniform is handy; walk down the street until they find an unguarded door, gate, portcullis, arch, or whatever; and then just stop and start guarding it. How they get paid, I have no idea, but I'll work on that aspect. Maybe the next time I go to the Forbidden City gardens.)

Anyway, to make a short story even longer, I was all ready to stop the cab, jump out, and get myself a little Christmas cheer from the Heineken Tree, when--sadly--a guard appeared. He had been on the other side of the "tree" so I couldn't see him. Oh well. I was wondering how an unguarded beer tree would survive on the corner of Bar Street for more than, say, ten minutes so I figured it had to be guarded, but a guy can dream, can't he?

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