November 25: A cold day in Beijing 

Woke up early and chatted with apple support online. Then headed out for a good breakfast of dumplings and scallion pancakes in the nearby hutong.

Then to the Apple Store, where I waited in line for an hour only to be told that they can’t help me. Can’t replace screens on US-purchased phones. Different part numbers, can’t run through all the automated tests, yadda yadda.
Frustrating because I’d first spent a while with the apple support folks online to make sure it was worth going in to the store (and I told them all the same info), and they said I should go in. Grumble, grumble.

Afterwards, I stopped in a supermarket near the hotel (looking for more cucumber gum) and was inspired to buy some clear (wide) packing tape and small scissors. I selected the scissors with the best instructions.

Back at the hotel, I taped all around the phone, except for the camera lens, power, and headphone jacks. Now I can use the camera and the fingerprint reader, and the shattered glass is still contained. Much more usable the the ziploc was. Just hard to see text or maps without panning around to the less cracked areas.
It was very cold out, but I wanted to try and salvage the day, so I decided to head up to the 798 art zone and check it out. Apple maps (because google maps isn’t available, there) said it’d be about an hour by bus, and that was the public transit option with the least walking (enticing because it was very cold out). The first bus was crowded but warm. The second bus was empty and see-your-breath cold.

By the time I got to the art zone, it had taken over 2 hours (traffic!) and I was freezing. It was also getting dark. I warmed up at a cafe, used their wifi to let M & S know I’d be a little later than planned, and looked around a few shops and galleries, before heading back to meet the gang for dinner.

With it so cold out, I decided to treat myself to a taxi back, but it took awhile before I found an empty one. What a relief to be in a warm car! Until I realized that it was going nowhere, fast. Traffic was ridiculous. After awhile, I showed the driver my phone with a map that showed the nearest subway station name (in Chinese), which was up ahead of us. I thought he understood the change of plan, but I don’t know if it was my broken screen, another miscommunication, or him trying to take me for a ride, but he pulled a u-turn from the middle lane, in front of a police car, and started heading in the opposite direction. I thought maybe he was taking me to a different stop (the one I could’ve walked to from where he picked me up), but then he turned another weird direction. And got stuck in traffic again. Eventually I just asked him to let me out. Of course, I forgot to get the hotel’s business card back from him. Not that I really wanted to take another taxi at that point, but that made it no longer an option.
I spotted a Starbucks about a block away and went in to use their wifi (one of the baristas was kind enough to use her phone to receive a text with a wifi code I could then use). I let M & S know that I was running even later, and then walked to the nearest subway stop. About 40 minutes later, I was back at the hotel. Whew!

Back to the mall (hey, we knew it was warm and had many food options) for our last dinner before heading to Xi’an.


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