When you enter a metro station, there are at least 3 “security guards” who are not much bigger then a high school kid, with a hugeass scanning device, metal detector and some other toys. While your bag is going through the scanner, and the metal detector goes off when you walk though it, there is no one that looks up or says something. Because the person behind the scanner is asleep and the person at the metal detector does not really feel like doing something. That’s not at just one station, that’s at all of them. This all should give you a sense of security in some way.
Once in a subway station, you need to orientate a bit. The transfer stations are generally set up massively. With different walk lanes next to each other and many stairs, escalators and Chinese. A lot of Chinese. Especially during rush hour. I traveled once with the subway in rush hour (because I had to go to the hospital)… So here’s a good tip: If your able to stay in bed a little longer, you definably should do that ;).
The subway off rush hour is nice and a good way to get from A to B. With two center rings and others lines crossing those makes it all pretty well connected. And it takes you only 2 hours to travel from East to West (easy peasy). A fun thing is, that when you’re not near the tourist attractions, you often (foreigner/tourist) are the only one in the subway or on a street. So when you see another not Chinese person there is often a smile, nod or even a little hi. A “hello” that identifies “Hi, yes we are in same boat … nice huh”. Apart from that it’s mostly Chinese who look outside to the animated screens or at their smartphone. If not then they are looking/staring at you (young and old), and then you’re the tourist attraction ;).
This gives you the feeling that you are really REALLY somewhere else. 😛