I knew that moving from Paris´ 7th arrondissement to a dorm room in northwestern Beijing would be a jolt akin to waking up in a body cast after falling asleep at the wheel. I had been to the Chinese capital a decade ago, so I packed surgical masks for the pollution, thermal underwear for the cold and enough antibiotics to open a pharmacy. I weaned myself away from Ladurée macaroons and French Bordeaux, got a visa that identified me as a student and changed my e-mail address. I was prepared to be sick, scrutinized, hungry and miserable.
Read more

More Articles about China
Learning Mandarin

Three Beijing Districts
Beyond Bejing
The Great Wall
Tibet Road Trip
Beijing to Lhasa by Train
Mao’s China