Monday, March 5, 2012

Rickshaw Madness!

One of my very favorite things to do in Beijing is riding in a rickshaw! It is not like the olden days where men are running while carrying you. Nowadays the surrey-like seat is attached to a bicycle that has a motor on it. 

If you look closely in the picture below you will see three red canopies, those are our rickshaw buddies. This is right outside our apartment building and they arrive around noon and stay until the wee hours of the morning. Rickshaws can be known to be a rip-off but we have made two pengyous (friends) who give us a good rate. We only take rickshaws when we want to go to dinner out of walking distance. This is because taxis are hard to come by at the dinner hour. 
Last night was one of those nights, I wanted to introduce the fam to The Saddle. Hubby was going to meet us there by bus so we looked for one of our rickshaw friends, neither was there. Darn! Two gentlemen were there instead, one younger with a nice smile and the other who was high strung and smoking a cigarette. When we approached,  the older guy began pushing the young one out of the way to talk to us. He was very aggressive and I knew I wouldn't do business with him, so I focused on telling the younger guy where we were going and negotiating our price.  We agreed on a fair price, while the older dude (notice how I've gone from gentleman to guy to dude?) ranted and raved! We ignored him and hopped into the bench seat. The younger guy just kept smiling with his calm demeanor while the older jerk began kicking the bike we were attached to! He then tried pushing over our carriage...while we were in it! Our driver quickly rode away and we were in shock!

D remembers this wacky man from a while back. D was passing by him while walking home from the busstop and he grabbed D's water bottle out of the pocket of his backpack! When D turned around the guy tossed it back to him in a crazy kinda way. A grudge has been held since then, by D, and now it is stronger after the crazy guy's antics last night.

I was sure to give our pleasant fellow a little extra, just because we felt bad about what he might run into with the crazy guy later. Usually riding in a rickshaw is adventurous because they go anywhere they want, through HUGE intersections, in bike lanes, on sidewalks, down one way streets in reverse, etc. I always hold on tight, but enjoy the ride. Needless to say, last nights drama was above and beyond our usual experience. Just another experience that we would never have back home.

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