This being the mid-way point in the holiday week here in China, some friends and I decided to bike downtown to Tiananmen Square tonight. It’s the place to be during this time of year. Seemingly out of no-where there are flower sculptures and displays. One is of the Potala Palace in Lhasa to commemorate the opening of the new train line. Another depicts the Three Gorges Dam, which went on line this year. And of course there were The Five Friendlies, the 5 cartoon characters that are the Olympic mascots. On our way home we rode around the Forbidden City, which was all lit up as well (see photo below).
The Square is about 10 miles from our neck of the woods, and it was an especially delightful ride since there’s lots less traffic this holiday week. But biking in Beijing is still quite the adventure, and provides probably the same adrenalin rush as skydiving (and maybe the same amount of insurance risk as well) or bungee-jumping, especially when you find yourself sandwiched between two big buses.
Things get especially dicey on those stretches of pavement where the bus-stops and the bike lanes converge,and the buses come barreling through, with the loudspeakers blaring, THE BUS IS COMING, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SAFETY, which really means, I’M COMING IN AT MACH SPEED AND IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF THE WAY YOU’RE GOING TO END UP FLATTER THAN A PEKING DUCK PANCAKE AND I WON’T BE HELD RESPONSIBLE BECAUSE I WARNED YOU WITH THIS ANNOYING LOUDSPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
It’s not a warning one takes lightly!
I love this city! Where else in the world can you go for an evening bike ride, and stumble across a scene like this???