Friday, May 17, 2013

Strolling down a Beijing hutong off the beaten track

I've been very busy over the past few weeks. The tourist season is starting to warm up in Beijing. I've been very pleased to see old friends and also friends of friends introduced by past clients.
It's the middle of May and spring has nearly gone. Temperatures are rising again in Beijing, air conditioners are in demand, and we're all so happy when we get a sunny blue sky. I went with some friends on a stroll down a hutong recently, and it's surprising what you can find. There are some hutongs being restored and developed, but the more they become famous, the more they become commercialised and crowded.

This hutong is getting well known, but for now is still very quiet, look no traffic and very few people!

The street life is so varied. Here we see some neighbours (and their dog) enjoying the afternoon playing mah jong.
This little shop sells exotic products from Nepal
The guy dressed up like a  Confucian master actually is a man of many talents, giving clients advice on personal and company names, feng shui for their homes and offices, marriage counselling, choosing lucky days for all-round fortune teller!  
Some grand renovated courtyard houses can be seen...but what an ugly exhaust pipe!
Some original stonework.
The Chinese character for happiness is important no matter where you live.
 This is a well preserved courtyard house.......
Now used as a school....I hope the students know how lucky they are...and retired cadres' centre.
It was a Prince's mansion before, read on......!
Further down the hutong, we came across 2 quite different food shops. I'm sure you would all like the noodles but I'm not so sure about the duck blood tofu....... can always go next door for some Hong Kong style desserts.
No 46 is an old factory compound which has been turned into a contemporary arts centre.
For relaxation, these prices are very attractive. (1 USD = 6.2 yuan RMB)
A new coffee shop has opened outside No 46.
And there's more choice around the corner. It may not be cheap but it's f....g good!What more would you want!