As English-speaking foreigners, we seem somewhat in demand. Our first day, we met two students wile we were walking on the Avenue of Eternal Peace (Dongchanglan Jie), the street that divides the city into north and south. They wanted to practice their English. We had a pleasant time walking together to the Forbidden City and Tinanmen Square. When we said good-bye, I opened my knapsack and pulled out my notepad. A crowd of about a dozen people stopped to watch. I wrote down their names, Kara and Maggie and shook their hands. They were quite suprised about the handshake; it was her first time shaking hands.
Yesterday, a gentleman asked me to pose for a photo. He asked me to put my arm around his girlfriend while the Red Guard marched behind us. Since then, I’ve been asked to pose several times. Chinese have only been able to travel for about five years. They visit from the provinces and take my photo home to show their friends that they met a foreigner.
Later in the day, we met another couple that invited us to tea, so they could practice their English. We had a reservation for the Beijing Opera and declined. Our guide says it is a frequent scam. They take me to a cafe and when it is time to pay the bill, I receive some outrageous charge. I would be unable to report it to the police and would be forced to pay.
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