Date: Sunday, July 19
Party: Vu, Dan, Kim
Travel: Subway; Taxi
That morning, Dan and I had ventured out by ourselves as the rest of the group had already seen where we have been. We started out with the Temple of Heaven. It was cloudier that day, but it was still humid out. After visiting this temple, we realized that most of the temples decoration through out Beijing would likely be decorated the same. This temple is unique for it being round. After spending the morning walking the entire park, we decided to walk to a nearby park, one which would not be as crowded, and would be more serene. It was a small park which we thought was Longtan, but its actually next to it. It was a pretty little place. On our way back, we decided to just take taxis's instead, as the subways had gotten way too crowded. Depending on the times, it got more crowded than we ever saw in Japan. We actually had to use Dan to part the sea of people. You really had to push people just to get off the train. Anyways, we visited Jingshan Park, where we get to climb up to a tower overlooking the complete forbidden city. It would have been great if we did it the day before, as the visibility was not that great. As we make our way down, we get a little flavor of the Chinese in the park. We get to see them have fun, dancing and singing. It's nice to see them use these parks and actually smile some.
After leaving the park, we tried to flag down this 1 taxi driver, but I think he was on break and didn't want our money. But as we were turned away, a tricycle rider (kind of like a rickshaw but with a biker) stopped in front of us and was able to solicit a ride from us. He seemed really nice at first, and we asked to be taken to the nearest train. We asked how much and he said only 3 yuan. Sounds good, so we get on, and then he says, oh its 3 per minute. Hmmmm, ok whatever, this should be a fun ride. But then he starts making a U-turn in the middle of the road with traffic coming back and forth. He was running red lights, and then he started taking us in a different path. I was like, no the train is to the left, but he wanted to take the scenic route and go the long way, and we threatened to get off. Instead he quickly turns around, and I mean quickly as traffic was still moving around us. All of a sudden, there are cars driving towards us, and we are in between cars and buses. An SUV almost ran us over. I think Dan was scared for his life, I was pretty amused. After we get on a straight away, we asked to get off, as the ride was taking a bit too long. A taxi fare would have only costed us around 15 yuan at most which would take us home, but this tricycle ride was hitting 10 minutes. So the driver said, ok 240.... We were like, 240?? are you kidding me, it was only 10 minutes. Thats only 30. And he points to each of us, "no no, 30 minutes, 30 minutes," implying that each of us owe him for 30 minutes. "No...it was only 10 minutes.. 3 per minute, 30!" Then he starts yelling at us, "NO, 120, 120 each!" "How do you even figure 120? Even it was 30 minutes, its 90, 90." "I WORK SO HARD!" (you have to do the accent and imagine him wiping the sweat off his head. We were like, no, look the most we'll give you is 60, 30 for the 2 of us. And that is more than generous considering a taxi would have only been a quarter of the price, so hes making out like a bandit. Nevertheless, he starts making a scene, and over and over he keeps saying "I WORK SO HARD." I was thinking a police officer would come by since he's making such a ruckus. He eventually just turns around and rides away, spitting like every other local does.
For the more uneventful evening, we enjoyed the lakes at Ho Hai, which is a nice hangout spot with a ton of restaurants around.