Ping Tracker

Friday, February 25, 2011


It's 8:40pm on February 24th and I'm in my room at the 161 Hostel in Beijing. I'm typing this in Word so I can upload it later because the internet here is not so reliable.

Anyway, things here have been way beyond what I expected. It was hard to even know what to expect because everything is so different here. The place where I'm staying seemed kind of sketchy at first, because it's in one of the old hutongs of Beijing, which are one of the most truly unique places I have ever been.

There is a sense of community here that is really cool, because they are mostly residences and family or friend owned shops and the streets are very smushed in together along with the shops/houses themselves (most people lived in the back of their shops). There is even a type of meeting place where the people of LiShi Hutong can get together and hang out and do whatever they like. It's really interesting, a lot of the older people literally just sit outside their shops/front doors and just wait for people they know to come by and engage them in conversation and just shoot the breeze. It's really cool.

These hutongs are a completely different place than the major streets that they intersect. There is little road noise and few cars in lieu of foot traffic, and the same people come up and down the streets every day, so naturally, I garnered a few stares, but with a simple "Zao Shang Hao" or something friendly along those lines, they would crack a smile and/or laugh amiably and go on their way.

I skipped other sites such as Mao's Mausoleum and the Summer Palace and others because I've taken quite a liking to these back alleys of Beijing. Many….well, a great many, of them have been demolished in favor of major roads like DongSi or Wangfujing and Chang'an. They won't be here forever, not at the rate China is growing, so I think it is more important to experience these types of unique places in lieu of the other attractions that will be around for years and years and years to come.

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