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Tuesday 14 August 2007

Day and Night at the Hutong – Beijing Travelogue (14/12/2006 - Evening & Night)

Most of the lower income group people are still staying in the old streets created since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These well laid-out streets are called Hutong (胡同) in Mandarin. There is a Hutong area just right across the street of the Lama Temple (擁和宮) where the highest educational institution Guo Zi Jian (国子监) used to be.

Most of the people living in the Hutong rely on the tricycles as their main form of transportation. This one looks like a tenant is moving away from this house with his belongings being loaded on a tricycle-truck.

The living condition for a family in the Hutong is just so fundamental for a big city life.

But the people here are so contented with what they have.

There are a few families living behind this closed door.

And there are more families behind this door.

The corridor leading to the inner courtyard is mostly used as a garage.

Somewhere along the way browsing through the intertwined Hutong, the paperboy left his bicycle outside a house which used to be a house of a high ranking government officer in the Qing Dynasty.

You may ask how I know that it was the house of a high ranking government officer in the Qing Dynasty. It is quite easy to tell, just look at the stone carvings laid out at the sides of the main door. The drum carvings can only be used by the high ranking government officer.

This picture shows the very basic living condition in the Hutong.

This house belonged to someone with certain social status. You may wonder again how to tell. Well, the answer lies in the emblems just above the door leaves. The more emblems installed, the higher the social status of the owner.

After visiting the Hutong, I took the subway back to the Beijing Station to have dinner.

When I have already filled my stomach, I had the energy again to explore another part of the Hutong at night, the Hou Hai (後海) area. The old buildings here have been turned into a posh dining and clubbing destination.

All the buildings were restored and renovated into fancy restaurants and pubs with attractive lightings.

And one of the iconic buildings is this Chinese-style Starbucks. The two moving persons on the left are my friends residing in Beijing.

That ends another day of my holiday in Beijing. :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi CK,
It's very interesting to be able to see your travels thru your pics and the stories behind them. I would love to see more things like bus ticket stubs, the drinks that you buy by the roadside, more English signboards in China! Great blog! - Greg

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