I am happy to report that I think my little worm is dying. I only went bad toilet once today and it wasn't 90% water like it has been up to now. Yay!
I changed hostels and then set off to do as many things left on my list as I could. Yesterday had been kind of a waste so I still had the Olympic stadium, Summer Palace, Mao's mausoleum, local markets and the CCTV tower on the list. I knew I wouldn't get to all of them in one day so I prioritized. I went to the Olympic spaces and walked around. It was nice, but really just a bunch of buildings. They did have a nice photo exhibit though from the Olympics.
Then I took the subway to the Summer Palace. It was nice, but I still think Beihi (not spelling that correctly) was nicer. There were a few cool artifacts and art though. I didn't spend too long there because I did kind of want to see Mao's Mausoleum and I the book said it closed at 4pm (like almost all tourist destinations in Beijing). I tried to get a taxi back to the subway but all the cab drivers wanted 20RMB when the fare from it was only 10. So being stubborn, I started walking, even though I didn't know where I was going. Luckily a rickshaw came along. He wanted 30 but took 20 and I got my firsat rickshaw ride!
The subway took an hour and 20 mins and I had to transfer 3 times. (Beijing is definitely bigger than Moscow!) While I was on it I saw a woman opening the zipper of a boy about 3 or 4 years old. I wondered what the hell she was doing because she was pulling his little penis out of his pants, right there on the subway. Then she points to a corner and the kid PEES into the corner of a packed subway car! Un-fucking-believable I think! I've seen people holding their kids under the legs in huatongs so they can pee in the street (forgot to mention that earlier) but this was unreal. I'm standing there thinking that in America (or any other civilized country) the mother would tell the boy to hold it, or she would get off the subway to find a bathroom.
As I'm standing there, I feel something wet hit my foot and reflexively jump back. I look down and the people I'm standing in front have their 1 1/2 year old sitting on their lap, and he's just peeing right on the floor - and my foot! I look at them incredulously and they just kind of smile back. No gestures of apology or embarrassment. Un-fing-believable!!!
I went to Tienanmen Square to see if Mao's Mausoleum might still be open, although I didn't expect it would be, and it wasn't. So, seeing one dead guy (Lenin) on this trip will have to be enough.
I went back to the hostel, scarfed down some American food and met the Swedes (it's probably time I told you their names lol. They are Ida (pronounced E-da) and Niklas) and the Swiss (Patrick) to see some Chinese Opera. Ida and Niklas and gotten the tickets from a tour director and she had told them that even though it started at 7:30, we should leave a 6:00. And we found out why.
We tried to get a taxi for 40 min! Getting a taxi at rush hour in Beijing makes getting a taxi in Manhattan in pouring rain look like a cake walk! Finally a driver pulled over and the 4 of us happily piled in. We showed him our paper that had the address of the opera house written in Chinese, he looked at it for a min, then shook his head no. I was livid. This had happened to me before where it seemed that a driver just didn't want to take you, maybe because you were a foreigner or because the fare wouldn't be enough. But this time it had taken us so long to get the taxi I dug in my heels. I said I wasn't getting out and to illustrate, I locked my door. He kept shaking his head no and Finally Niklas called the tour director and she talked to the driver for awhile. Turns out he didn't know the area. So we got out and went back to trying to find a taxi. All four of us spread out to the four corners of a major intersection and finally got another one. We piled in again and showed him the paper, holding our breath. When he nodded his head okay, we all cheered and I'm sure he had idea why. lol
We made it to the opera with time to spare and watched the performers putting on their make-up. Turns out the opera was in a hotel, which i wasn't thrilled about, but I just sat back and waited to see what it was all about. When the first act started, and the singer started, I almost burst out laughing. It seriously sounded like someone had stepped on a cat's tail. The costumes were great, the music nice and with the translation you could understand what was going on. Although, some of them were quite comical.
It was just over an hour and then I headed back to the hostel.