While I was originally going to go to the Great Wall of China, I decided I'd rather get my bearings in Beijing first. I became friends with two Polish travelers, Marcin and Diana, at my hostel and we both happened to be going to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square! We ventured out together but we got separated at the gate to the Forbidden City. Oddly enough, I ran into the students from Alabama inside and we hung out for a bit. They had a tour guide so I tagged along with them and learned some fascinating information about the Forbidden City.
Being an abnormally tall, white, American, people asked to take pictures with me. Not sure why, but it's kinda cool? One girl walked up and said, "Hi I was wondering if you could take a photo with me. You are very handsome." Well I guess that solves it!
I really wanted to fly my drone around the Forbidden City but I had too many worries about it. I have no idea how the guards would react. Would they not think twice about it or whip out their guns and shoot it down? Also, with the buildings, walls, and trees, I didn't want to navigate flying around those obstacles. I had an unfortunate drone crash last week that cracked a bunch of the plastic. It still flies, but is harder to control and is less precise with the movements. All of this felt too risky. If I crash it now, I wouldn't be able to use it at the Great Wall or the Yellow Mountains, which seems like a better opportunity. Probably not the smartest idea to experiment in a place called the Forbidden City.
Left the Forbidden City with no sign of my Polish homies, Marcin and Diana. Ran into another group of Americans from Virginia who just finished a trip similar to mine! Instantly became friends. I had nothing to do so we hung out and they took me to lunch at a hot pot place nearby. Tim and Jenneh hung out with me the most as we ordered way to much food. We shared stories, laughed and had a splendid time. Tim told me how awesome the matcha chocolate McFlurrys are at McDonalds here so I got one after we went our separate ways. He was right. Absolutely delicious.
I just finished my McFlurry and sat down to write about my fun experiences when a group of kids came up to me and started showing me their small pocket watches. They really liked my KO Watch and tried to set their times to match mine. One little boy was fascinated by my camera, constantly making weird silly faces and giggling at the pictures. His mom came up and told the group to all play their harmonicas. They puffed as hard as they could into those little things and it was the most beautiful noise.
Found live scorpions on sticks getting ready to be cooked. A vendor wanted 25 yuan for 3. After watching them wiggle and dance after being impaled, I lost my curiosity. Also Tim said he had one the night before and it hurt his stomach.
Wandered around Tiananmen Square which happened to be a big empty plaza with nothing to see. All of the surrounding museums and buildings were closed so I just headed home. The rest of the night was pretty chill. Mostly hung out at the hostel and edited a bunch of photos. Nothing special to end the awesome day!