I like this street next to my school because it’s a very active street of small shops, raised up a few steps from the street, the way I imagine a medieval town would have been. Unfortunately, the road functions like an open-air sewer, which is probably quite similar to the age of plague and chivalry. Anyway, I was snapping these pictures when I saw a sign of change to come.
This character, ?, means tear down or demolish. Apparently every building on this street is getting scrapped in the near future.
I talked to a guy who was pruning a tree further on, he said that if I come back in one year, I can eat delicious food in a restaurant here. I wanted to ask more questions, but my Chinese isn’t good enough.
I don’t want to overly glorify the hutongs, I know that these small mom-and-pop shops require hard work and long hours, but I can’t deny that these streets have personality and character. It’s sad to see it disappearing, amd making way for more gray block buildings and chain stores. One of the reasons we came to Beijing was to see the city changing and modernizing. But sometimes I feel like I’m here watching 4,000 years of culture torn down and replaced by lowest-bidder Western knockoffs.
This is my favorite picture of the day… I love the new year’s banner taped over the demolition sign.
More pictures of this street in my album here.