I rented a bike yesterday and really enjoyed it. I also had a McDonald's kids meal with pancakes, hashbrowns, and hot chocolate for breakfast. There's not much of a chance of a day going bad with that to start you off!
The first place I trekked to was an old market, about a thirty minute bike ride away. I couldn't figure out how to get there by bus the day before (and the subway doesn't go out that far), so having a bike was excellent. On a bike, there's always some wind surrounding you and you feel a little less like a tourist even though you can't get away from looking like one. The market was great. It was full of antiques, fabrics, lanterns, carvings, paintings, all sorts of stuff. The best part about it was that none of the people there reached for you or called out "lady, lady! looka, looka! cheaper for you!" like they do in every other market I've been to in Beijing. Hearing that all day is enough to make you want to leave the city on its own. Anyway, the market was really nice.
I rode up to the China Art Museum and had a great time (in the air conditioned building) looking at the mostly Chinese, and some French art. From there, I rode around the Forbidden City moat, went to Wang Fu Jing (the big shopping street that feels like any big city) and bought two cheap classic books to read on my long train ride home.
In the evening, I finally caught up with the two friends I came with. They had a late dinner and we shared stories. Today, we are going to the Great Wall together. I'm happy to have someone to go with!