My cab driver this afternoon was a woman wearing white fabric gloves. The majority of the drivers here are men, many of whom also wear gloves, but there is an occasional woman.
When I got into the taxi I showed her a piece of paper with the address of my destination. She wasn't sure and asked me something. I'm not sure what, but it seemed to amount to the location of my destination. I tried to tell her the street name, and that you would make a left from Dongsanhuan BeiLu (East Third Ring North Road). She drove, then made the left early and took a loop that resulted in our going in the wrong direction. Oops. I started thinking about alternate routes, and decided that we could probably take the main road next to the canal down to Donsihuan BeiLu (East Fourth Ring North Road), then turn right there and go over the canal to my destination without too many more detours. No one had ever taken me this way before so I wasn't 100% sure the route wouldn't have a diversion that would land me across town but I decided that it was worth trying.
It worked! I arrived at my meeting on time, and proud that I now have enough knowledge of some streets to come up with alternate routes on the fly.
Don't expect me to be able to do that anywhere else in town, or in a hutong (alleyway or courtyard area) for quite some time.