Archive for May 11th, 2010

The Great Leap Forward

After 48 hours of flying, and 6 hours of sleep, I woke up and took a great leap out of bed and found myself here.

My hostel is in a what is called a Hutong. They are the modest dusty neighborhoods of old Beijing, and they are disappearing fast to the rapid development that is turning old Beijing into a new powerhouse city of Asia.

But the dusty ghosts of the past live on, for now.

But who comes to Beijing to see old dusty neighborhoods? Probably not these folks.

No, they come here to see the imperial history and to see this guy.

One can not get into the Forbidden City of the old Chinese dynasties without passing under Chairman Mao. But apparently the watchful eyes of Mao aren’t enough, as there are police or army everywhere it seems. But they are still short on Fashion Police.

That is certainly around Tiananmen Square. Synonymous in the West with the brutal crackdown on a peaceful pro democracy protest in 1989, it is always under the watchful eye of the government. You must go through security just to get there.

And of course they seem to like rules here, including No FaceBook, No Twitter, and no WordPress, etc. Well this American says no way, and that’s why you’re hopefully reading this now. But the government can’t seem to stop people from superstitiously putting their money in water fountains.

And this long day comes to a close.

But not before a trip to the night market…

Are those skewered starfish? Surely those are not scorpions? OMG, they are. And think of the lucky one who gets to eat one of those delicious tarantulas. No, I did not try one, and no I won’t.