China Diary: Hutong of Beijing

The hutong in Beijing is an amazing array of old buildings built side by side down narrow streets that used to be residential neighborhoods but now largely house retail shops and a stunning selection of unique eateries.

An ancient maze now met with youth and cutting edge design, buildings hundreds of years old are now gleaming with electronics and pop music blares from the intricate wood structures. The crowds of people are shoulder to shoulder, mixed with foreigners and Chinese, from morning to dark all strolling and gawking, it was truly an endless parade of shoppers, schleppers and tourists who never stop.

The rarity of these neighborhoods is apparent as the destruction of them gives way to the construction of larger roads and buildings though they are being preserved best as possible as one can see. But in a city as ancient as Beijing, it’s impossible not to see something old being razed for something new every day in every neighborhood.

Such is a legacy. Such is progress.

Architecture of Summer

It’s hot. People you know are stripping down and running through fountains in the middle of the city in the middle of the night. Fountains you didn’t even know existed though you had passed by this very spot on Front Avenue many times and just missed it. With a bit of convincing you realize that this decision couldn’t have been a better one and despite later riding home on a motorcycle in soggy jeans, you’d do it again a hundred times over.