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.

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6 Responses to “The Great Leap Forward”


  1. 1 Michela May 11, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Oh my god! I can’t believe they eat that monsters! Bleah! :-/ But it’s nice to have you writing and making photos about something that’s completely strange for us (including the great internet firewall).
    A presto! Ciao Michi

  2. 2 Caroline Musselwhite May 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    THANKS for letting us be virtual travelers with you!

  3. 3 Shodan May 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    What if eating a scorpion was the price of entering the Go club??

  4. 4 Jeff May 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Ok the girl with the pink sneakers may deserve a fashion violation, but she is cool. The arachnid on a stick is freakin disgusting!!!!!

  5. 5 Gretchen May 12, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Hi all,
    Peter says thanks for your comments and wants you to know that he can’t respond to them until he is out of China. Big Brother strikes again.


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