Forbidden City Ramblings

On Wednesday I moved to a new hostel and then headed out to the Forbidden City. I rented one of those cassette tape deals so you can hear about what you're looking at. I put it into my bag a few minutes later when I realized I had no idea what the lady was talking about. So I made up my own history for the buildings I saw. I took a bunch of pictures of doors and walkways, I figure that all the normal pictures have been done already and maybe my 'artsy' shots will be cool. My parents told me there was a Starbucks in the City, but I was skeptical until I actually saw it. While it was sad to see it there, it wasn't too bad because there are lots of little shops to buy coke, 'fast food' and toilet paper for the toilets. While there are a fair amount of hawkers and 'guides', they leave you alone as soon as you say 'no thanks.' Which is a bit different than in India, where they don't leave you alone until you throw rupees or rocks at them. I walked through to the North entrance and headed out towards the Hutongs, or old small alley streets. It was getting dark (sun seems to set at 5:30) so I didn't have a lot of time to walk through the streets. I saw one that looked pretty neat so I headed into it. It started off pretty small and kept on getting narrower. A lady with bags of vegetables saw me and started talking to me and waving me forward. I took a few pictures of where I was and followed her. We kept walking deeper into the Hutong. The roofs of the buildings ranged from 7 feet to 10 feet and each house was like 15 feet wide, really small places. She was in front of me and kept waving and smiling. We eventually got to a dead end and she disappeared into a little house. A second later she came out with a small little fiesty dog. She smiled and said something I didn't understand. I took a picture of her and the dog. We tried to communiate through my little Mandarin phrase book. About 5 minutes later I saw she wanted me to send her the picture. I wrote down my email address and got hers, not that I can really read it. It was getting darker so I waved goodbye and headed out to the streets. I wasn't really sure where I was or how to get out of the maze so I just went in one direction. After a dead end I went North towards one of the larger streets I knew was around. I walked by a few food stalls and had to stop and get a few pork buns when I saw a bunch of locals buying them. I ended up getting four and paid 2 yuan, or 25 cents. They were pretty frickin good. I wandered around some more until I found a major street and then found the subway system. I went to Tianemmen Square because I saw an Internet place and a 7-11 (I needed Snickers.)