Still a few kilometers from the Forbidden City I stood at a crossroads.
As I was looking down at the map a wiry middle-aged Chinese man approached and asked, “Forbidden City?”
“Yes. Forbidden City,” I said.
He pointed across the street and said, “Rickshaw. Two yuan.” The U.S. equivalent of 32¢.
He insisted, “Too far!” He produced a map from his pocket and showed me it was — indeed — too far for any one person to ever walk unassisted.
Smiling I said, “I like walking.” I pointed to the map and showed him the hotel I walked from. We both knew I was at the halfway point in the journey.
He saw my resolve. “Okay. Bye bye.”
After touring the Forbidden City another man at the exit wanted to give me a ride in his rickshaw. I again said no. He asked, “Where you going?”
I slowly exhaled, “I don’t know.”
And I still don’t.