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 10×10. 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.