When I had finished my last very last exam I was suddenly filled with that sense of panic. All I could think of was: there’s still so much I need to see! Feeling adventurous and independent I left my roomie a note, grabbed my camera, and got on the train. Headed nowhere in particular I got on and off a bunch of stops until finally ending up at Tian’anmen Square.
Before heading into the actual square I decided to check out one of the nearby parks first: Zhong Shan Park. The park was so calm and peaceful, made me wish I had more time to spend there. It was just one of those places where you could crack open a good book and just stay lost for hours.
Sadly, I was pressed for time. So I left this quiet sanctuary and headed for one of Beijing’s most familiar sites.
I spent a good chunk of my time getting lost in the crowds. Just trying to fight my way into the square was a challenge! It was wall to wall people all shuffling along. There were young boys passing off as guards behind the cordoned off areas screaming at us to keep moving. I suddenly felt very back for cattle.
I wanted a different vantage point so I decided to pay to climb up one of the gates. 3 months of study and I was having a hell of a time trying to communicate with the people there. I ended up walking all over the place and each time I was told that I had the wrong ticket. I was getting really frustrated and ready to give up when one of the locals decided to lend a hand. His accent wasn’t so bad so we were able to talk for a bit and after I convinced him I didn’t have time to go on a tour of nearby hutongs he pointed me in the right direction. I finally end up back where I started (next to the ticket booth) where the ticket taker then emphatically informs me: I told you earlier to go in earlier but you just walked away!
Oh great. I made a mental note to give my teacher a piece of my mind. The nerve of that lady saying I could speak Chinese! Clearly, they had made a mistake. :p
Afterwards I planed to go see the Forbidden City. On my way to buy another ticket I met up with the man who had helped me out earlier. The conversation went something like this:
Me: No, I hadn’t changed my mind. I didn’t want to go on a tour but thank you very much for all your help.
Him: Why are you headed in that direction? The Forbidden City is closed now you know? They close at 430pm.
Me: Really? (真的吗？)
Him: Really. (真的。)
Twice already this guys saved me. I really felt bad about not going on his tour but I’m not quite thats trusting. And I had my heart set on seeing the Forbidden City! Fear not dear reader, I made it there eventually, I’d love tell you all about it but this post is already getting too long (and I’m getting sleepy) so will save that for tomorrow.
Till then, zai jian!