Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beijing Day 4

No, you did not mysteriously miss Day 2 and Day 3,  I am just skipping ahead because Day 2 is skipping my memory at the moment, possibly because Day 4 was my favorite day in Beijing.  As for Day 3, Alison will be the author of that post because the visiting the Great Wall was her lifelong dream, so my words could not do it justice.  So here is Day 4.  

Monday was our last day in Beijing.  Our flight left at 6:45 pm so we had until about 3:00 pm to wander around before we had to get a cab from our hostel.  Alison and Katrina went to Silk Street to do some more shopping.   I on the other hand wanted to see some different parts of the city. So I rented a bike from our hostel for a mere 4 dollars and set out to explore the city.  I had looked at a map the night before and plotted some destinations I wanted to see.   Olympic Park, a city park(so I thought), Pearl Market, and Snack Street(again) were on my list.  I thought I could do math AND use my finger as an accurate means of measuring distance on the map, turns out I can not do either.  What I had thought would be a 10 mile journey at most, turned out to be a 30 mile one.  The legs were a little wobbly the next day, but even after I finished riding, I had not realized how far I had gone.  I had read somewhere that Beijing was as flat as a Mahjong table. Corny, but oh so true!  It was so flat, and every street had a massive bike lane, and a seperate set of lights just for bikes at every intersection.  I have to admit that pulling out into traffic to pass buses that were picking up passengers was a little nerve racking, but the cars in the road actually respected the bikes and gave them the right of way.  I guess that is how it works in a city where literally millions of people commute on their bikes everyday.  It was also thrilling knowing that when I was on that bike I was controlling where I was going.  I don't miss the cost of having to put gas in a car, but I do miss being able to go where I want to go, when I want to go, and being able to stop when I want to stop.  Being on a bike for those 5 hours gave me that.  It was a lot more fun than I had expected, and I wish I could have done it for a couple more days.  Here is a map of Beijing.  I put some place markers in Blue, and my bike path in Red.  

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