And we're off! Just shy of five hours on the fastest bullet train and Shanghai's just a blur. (One of my nephews kept tabs on the speed and found that while we were usually going 302km/hr the average for most of the trip was slightly under 300 as we slowed to the low 290s or even high 280s in curves.) We're in Beijing! Already spoiled by Shanghai we were a little aghast that the Beijing subway has smaller and rattly and doesn't have escalators in every exit. But once we found our way to our little converted hutong-hostel/hotel, Beijing had begun to win us over. The enormous avenues are balanced by the wonky three-wheeled mini-taxis on the sidewalks, as the oversized buildings are by the entirely human-scaled hutong districts. Ready for Forbidden City?