Beijing - Hutong Tour

Hutongs were the old, narrow neighborhoods where Beijing's people used to live until they started erecting high-rise buildings. I chose to look at these rather than go to the Great Wall. It's impossible to go through by car, so we took a bicycle-driven cab. The neighborhood looks like Chinatowns everywhere. I'm sure it's charming unless you have to live like this, but a shame nonetheless that the hutongs are disappearing.

Click for a larger version A woman selling scallion cakes

This could be New York!

Click for a larger version Cigarette Lane

Named after the trade of the people who lived here, like Poultry in London.

Click for a larger version Cabbages
Click for a larger version Front door of the compound

Hutong houses form courtyards off the alleys

Click for a larger version Side building in the compound

In the old days, these windows would have been made from paper

Click for a larger version Benjamin, my tour guide

All through the day he thought it was strange that I didn't want my picture taken, and preferred pictures of things. So the deal was that he took one of me and I took one of him. You won't see the one of me.

Click for a larger version The Bell Tower

A very tall tower in the middle of the neighborhood. It was a good climb.

Rather than having the dinger in the middle, Chinese bells have the dinger on the side -- it's a log that hangs from ropes.