|Crowds outside the gate of the Forbidden City|
If I were a stereotype, I'd be a man who refuses to ask for directions. I had a map and headed out from my hotel to find Tiananmen Square. I walked for milesalong the Beijing City Wall, sure that behind it was the square, if only I could find an opening. I was going the wrong direction. So I got to the end of the wall, walked around the edge and doubled back -- in an entirely different wrong direction. But I didn't care. I had no plans and enjoyed my exploration.
I was spotted by a woman named Lily, an "art student" who wanted me to see her exhibition which was across the street from Tiananman Square. So, I let her lead me there. She showed me everyone's artwork. It seemed to be a legitimate art show and I met another artist. Naturally, I couldn't leave without buying something. I'm sure I was supposed to haggle, but I just don't have it in me.
I walked away with my art and headed over to the Square. I'd thought I might tour the Forbidden City. the guide books suggested allowing three hours. Well, I'd already been wandering for three hours and really have no interest in history. It was enough for me to be there watching the crowds -- which were massive. I decided to sit and watch and wander the Square. I think I made the right choice. As soon as I can post pictures, you'll see the crowds and again, the haze. I'm not sure it's possible to take a clear picture in Beijing.