As we were on the bus to the hotel we asked our tour guide what things we should see in Beijing. He recommended the Lama Temple. He said on a nive weather day you could see 5,000 people there doing Tai Chi. Well, it wasn't a good weather day, but as it is our only day to go out on our own we decided to head over there anyway. First we stopped at an ATM and took out 1200 Yuan. We got the Yuan in denominations of 100 RMB's. The exchange rate is 6.35 RMBs to 1 US $. So 1200 RMB's is about $200 US dollars. We got a cab right in front of our hotel and it was about a 20 minute cab ride. It cost 24 RMB's. The standard tip is 3 RMB's above the price. We paid an even 30 RMB's and hopped out at the temple.
It was sure an eyeful to watch Beijing come alive in the morning. The bikes, the mopeds, the cabs, the traffic, the busses all zooming in a very natural pattern that I could not actually make heads or tails sense out of. Half the time we would enter an intersection I would not be able to predict where we would end up on the other side of the intersection. There were criss crosses and traffic patterns that I had never seen before!
And I can't say enough or show enough photos to illustrate how crazy the bikes, pedi bikes, rickshaws, mopeds, and motorized bicycles would zoom in and out of traffic. Sometimes they would have several people on them; often there were kids on them; some of them were stacked high with boxes and I even saw one hauling 20 foot long steel rebar.