I also spontaneously met my friend Patrick from Hungary who is now living in Beijing! I met him 5 years ago when traveling with Mingtang in Europe and it was so awesome to see him again. We already planned a trip for him to come to Zhengzhou this Friday to meet Dr. Zhao (whom I'll be studying with and will take the train to be with him tomorrow) and then Patrick, I and Kundawell's anatomy teacher from Brazil, David, will take the train on Saturday to Hua Shan (Mt. Hua - one of the 5 sacred Taoist mountains) for a weekend hiking adventure - maybe we'll make it to Xi'an too). Also of note is that the 3 of us (David, Patrick and I) had lunch together for a total of 33 yuan - $5 for all 3 of us combined -- I love Chinese food and the prices! :)
Gosh, I also just love walked the streets and alley ways ('hutong') in old Beijing! There are soo many good things to eat! I just went to buy some fruit and got some favorite snacks (shan zha pian - which is a form of dried plum made into wafer like treats, hei zhi ma hu - which is this yummy black sesame seed flour that you add hot water to for a most delicious breakfast :), roasted chestnuts - that are still warm when they put them in a bag for you, and a yummy yogurt drink (suan nai) -- they serve them in these clay cups and ask that you come back the next day to return them :))
Tomorrow morning I take the train to Zhengzhou to meet Dr. Zhao and his family. Not sure what internet access I'll have for the first few days...but I'll send updates as I do. Still have to get some pics up too.