I have no idea how long it’s been since I have been on a bike to just cruise. If I have been on a bike in the last few years, it’s been for a workout. But today-it was for sightseeing! SO AWESOME! Today was a good day.
In my BPS “Year to Remember” class this month, I challenged the students to ‘take a day off’… like really take a day to themselves, doing something that really re-charges your battery and makes you happy! Well, today was my day off! I contemplated what I wanted to do for my day off…and since my first choice (first class airfare to Hawaii and sit on the beach) was not really an option, I went with my second, which was to spend a little time, sans-kids, to explore a little bit of downtown Beijing. And as luck would have it, a friend of mine invited me to go to a couple wholesale markets and then on a little bike tour of the city. Her mom is in town, and she was going to take her around. I was thrilled, and they threw in an extra bike for me. We went to two different wholesale markets. The first one was really wild. TONS AND TONS of booths- 13 floors. Each booth was like 10x10. They would have all the samples of their goods hanging from the tops of the booth, and the floors of the booths were just stacked with merch. It’s a place where shop owners come to buy. As if I weren’t completely overwhelmed by that expeience, we went to another one, this one was much more organized and nice. I bought some bling-y hairclips and a bunch of papers-pretty sure it’s wrapping paper-and some cards. Oh, and these amazing paper-cut pieces…its’ really intricate die cutting out of one sheet of tissue paper. (this girl was so cute! i want to be HER for halloween! there were a lot of total 'fashionista'-china girls at the market... some pretty serious glitter eyeliner... i have to find me some!)
this stack is all cool paper... i bought a bunch to play with. i think this guy was a little annoyed with me making him pull out colors from all the stacks. i bought a bunch of cheap ribbon too!
Once we left the market, we drove awhile, and then got out-unloaded the bikes and rode 7-8miles to Tiananmen Square. Well, if I thought it was scary driving, try riding a bike! There are no rules except don’t get killed! It’s crazy, if there is a stopped bus, you simply go around it (hoping you don’t get drilled). The buildings are so modern in Downtown Beijing. It’s such a beautiful city. There are so many busses, taxis and bikes. The biking was a bit intense. But it’s totally fun to be moving in ‘bike traffic’. You just really have to be watching everything. I almost got creamed by a bus! It was so much fuN! It was so awesome to cover a lot of ground, and still be able to see everything up close and personal! I was just feeling so thankful and amazed that I was sitting there on a bike, and not stuck in a tour bus! And again, it struck me how awesome this experience is!
I was highly entertained by those riding around us. here are some photos.
We also bought a cooked sweet potato (so yum) for lunch. Once we were on the bikes it was about 7-8 miles to Tiananmen Square…the forbidden City is just on the same road, across the street. It was a little bit of a smoggy day… so the visibility is not very good. But you get the idea. Nan is my friend pictured here- she is the primary president. Her mom (who is a service missionary at temple square) is here visiting, and they invited me to join them. Nan and her family have been here for 3 years, so she could give me the scoop on everything. I am so glad I got that opportunity! Riding bikes is a great way to check out the city! (‘when in rome’); I loved the chance to see it a little more intimately than from a car window.