Thursday, May 3

biking in Beijing

It's a nice day in Beijing - warm and clear. I rented a bike today from the hostel I'm staying at and set off to find a cup of coffee and a park to enjoy it in, but those two things didn't work together. Instead, I settled for a 3 yuan bamboo basket of baozi (steamed dumplings) on the corner street of a hutong (old neighborhood), then bought a bottle of milk tea and some cookies in a convenience store before paying the entrance fee for a park just west of the Forbidden City. The entrance fee was doubled because they are having a tulip festival there. It was worth it to enjoy all the wonderful varieties of beautiful tulips. I found a semi-quiet hill where I was half hidden under a tree to read and nap. As the morning went on, the park became more and more crowded (most people still have the day off for May holiday) and I was observed by more people passing by. One girl and her friend asked if they could lay in the grass like me and have their picture taken beside me. Beijing is more used to foreigners, but still not completely!

The rest of the day has been spent on a quest for cheese to take back. I've found two stores with it and will probably go back tomorrow just before leaving. I'm not seeing any sites this trip to Beijing because I've seen all the big ones. This trip has been fun to just relax and act like I live here, which is made much easier with the bike. People don't approach me as much on the bike - not just because I'm faster, but I look less like a tourist!

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