I made it to Beijing unscathed and hit the ground running on just a few hours of sleep. I feel determined to keep on some sort of budget and I don’t want to spend money on things like taxis and what not, so I bought a metro card and made my way in the sweltering heat. Thank goodness for my recent trip to Seoul because the subway system is exactly the same so it made navigating through it with 40 pounds on my back a little easier. I had booked a room (well, a couch, actually) on Air BnB and when I arrived, there was a Chinese girl heading out later that evening. It turned out to be a fortuitous meeting as she was very helpful, showed me some places in the area, ordered food for me, and invited me to join her and her friend on a few excursions.
I was lucky to be able to spend my first three days in Beijing with others. I know the road gets lonely sometimes and it feels more rewarding to experience new things in good company. I met some Americans at the Forbidden City and did some serious trekking along the Great Wall with my new Chinese friend. In my first three days, I put in nearly 40 miles on foot. I saw so many sights, tried new foods, and did it all in the relentless heat! Even though I’m here and I can see it with my own eyes, I still ask myself if I really did this. “Am I really in China?” Yes I am, and damn, I don’t understand a word or even a syllable, of Chinese for that matter!