My last full day in Beijing started by riding the subway. Beijing has a very extensive subway system, and due to language challenges, it does seem overwhelming. However, the system is fairly well laid out, and with a little patience and confidence, it can easily be handled. Our first stop was the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street, followed by a long, and I mean long and very steep, stairway climb to the Drum Tower. While in the Tower, we got to see a performance of the drums. This fun experience was followed by a visit to a local family’s home in the Hutong District, riding a rickshaw through the narrow streets and lunch in another local family’s home. For our final stop, our amazing William led us by subway to the Pearl Factory, a 5-story shopping complex where you literally can shop and bargain till you drop. Totally worn out, we made our way back to the Hotel on our own by way of the subway. I was proud of myself as I braved the daunting vending machine for my subway ticket!
Epilogue; Beijing is an amazing city, the air quality is lacking, the city is crowded but fairly clean, the people were wonderful and friendly, food was excellent, and although the vendors were pushy, I never once felt uneasy. Put it on your wish list and practice eating with chopsticks before you arrive!