Chinese hospitality

Yesterday I visited Beihai Park, west of Jingshan Park and the Forbidden City. It looked beautiful, but I was able to stay for only a few minutes. The weather turned poor in a hurry, with loud thunder and heavy rains about to fall. Before I left, I saw the Nine Dragon Wall, made of glazed clay or bricks, built more than 600 years ago, with nine colorful dragons in the clouds.

I hustled out of the park, and tried to hail a taxi. When there were no taxis to be found, two Chinese women with a child asked me where I was going. They invited me to share their taxi, told the driver to take me where I needed to go first, and then refused my efforts to pay.

I made it home just before the downpour.

In my experience, this generosity was typical for Beijing. Except those involved with sales, Chinese people are warm, generous, and curious, and those involved with sales are just trying to make a buck the only way they can. For the most part, they're more desperate than malicious.

Chinese people have on the whole been quite wonderful during my few weeks on the mainland.