Day Sixty-four: Subterranean Homesick Blues

The Pool at the Grand Hyatt, Beijing

The Pool at the Grand Hyatt, Beijing

“Johny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government”-Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan @1965

Day four in Beijing and despite the sunny skies and moderate AQI  of 87, I chose to stay in the hotel today, partly because I knew this was the shot I wanted to take  for day 64 and partly because it’s cold outside. On top of that my neck is stiff and sore; walking around with a camera slung across my shoulder and a 15 lb backpack aggravates my arthritic neck and after 3 straight days of mutli-hour treks about the city I wanted an easy day before we hop the train to Nanjing, tonight.  I’m glad I did; unconfirmed reports from some Chinese media outlets are  claiming that a woman self-immolated this morning at 11 AM in Tiananmen Square, just east of the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

The Grand Hyatt Beijing is reported to be a favorite of Communist Party officials and it is not an uncommon practice to give them red envelopes with gift certificates to the hotel so they can come and enjoy the pool and other amenities. A crackdown on official corruption is said to be hurting the bottom line of many hotels and luxury goods retailers.  I don’t mind, I enjoy my privacy.

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