After a welcome reprieve from high temperatures, it’s really hot again here in Beijing. One of the most popular ways to beat the heat is ice cream, and I picked up a quart of Dreyer’s Grand Cookies ‘n Cream. It was on sale for about $6 at the BHG Supermarket, and was right next to my $7 pack of frozen waffles. Pure decadence.

The only way to live in Beijing without spending a fortune is to go local, eating Chinese food and taking buses and subways instead of taxis. I’m better at saving on transportation than food; when you can’t read the menus and the dishes are weird and alien, it’s just easier to eat Western. Having spent nearly $40 on a single bag of groceries, I wasn’t in any mood to spend more. I’ve been feeling more adventurous lately and decided to try riding the bus home, as I successfully did from the airport yesterday (saving about $4 in the process).

Bus stops list the route of every bus, and buses stop only at fixed locations. Only one problem: it’s all in Chinese. Still, I thought I recognized the characters for Dongzhimen, which is near my apartment, so I hopped on the bus. Buses aren’t air conditioned, and the bus slowly made its way in the right direction in the blistering heat, passengers fanning themselves with anything available as the temperatures climbed into the upper 90s. And then the bus reached the end of its route: Dongsishitao, one subway stop south of Dongzhimen. The characters look sort of the same to my untrained eye, but it was definitely the wrong location. Still, though, no problem. I hopped on the subway and took it one stop north, only needing to wait about 10 minutes for a train, subways running less frequently on Sundays than weekdays. From Dongzhimen, the familiar walk back through a high speed bus lane combined with a hazardous construction zone, dodging buses, open manholes and cement trucks on the potholed road with no sidewalks. Just part of the charm of Beijing.

And then, almost an hour in upper 90s temperatures later, I was at home. My ice cream had somehow worked its way to the bottom of my pack, the lid came off, and it melted all over everything. $6 worth of ice cream ruined, and a huge mess made of my pack, all in the name of saving a $1.50 cab ride home. I ended up taking a shower with my bag, Cookies and Cream swirling down the drain.