We were all feeling OK despite the lack of sleep – even Daji said he was fine
after being sick during the night.
After light breakfasts, we decided to walk to the two parks we’d enjoyed so much
on our last trip – on either side of the Forbidden City. The Workers’ Cultural
Palace and the Zhongshan Parks.
Unfortunately the former was being renovated so
there was no access, but we spent a very pleasant and leisurely few hours wandering around,
enjoying the newly planted flowers and cherry blossoms which had just sprung
out. Again this is a park that is more or less unknown by the tourists, who
flock to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City - both of which were totally
packed as we passed them.
We made our way back to the hotel via the park and canal that runs parallel to
Dongehang'an Jie, hidden by a red brick wall - it was late afternoon and hot now. At the
hotel we rested, Lene wrote some cards and
Yanmei and Daji played Gameboy. We decided to eat at a restaurant at the far
end of the Baofang Hutong called Cafe 9. The food was excellent and whilst the
clientele was 90% Chinese, there were a few foreigners - some who seemed to live
in Beijing. Steven was still having problems with his right
hand, but was getting fairly proficient at using chopsticks in his left hand.
We walked a little bit around the area before walking back though the Hutong. A
loud discussion was taking place between a family in a car and the locals.
Suddenly the driver sped off at high speed through the Hutong, which is highly
dangerous given the number of people on the street and how narrow the roads actually are.
Several people were running after the car which was
eventually forced to stop and a big crowd surrounded the car, officials trying
to calm down the driver and his family, people calling the police etc. Finally
after threatening everybody the family jumped into the car and drove off – at a
more moderate speed this time.