AlbertaTime in China #14 - Last hours in Beijing
"All good things must come to an end" is the saying, and it's true about this Chinese visit, so this last post is just going to be a collection of my photos, sort of in order, of my last two days in Beijing.
I'd thought about rushing around to do the usual "touristy" things: head to the Great Wall and/or the Emperor's Palace/Forbidden City...but that's not the Beijing I'd come to love and if I only had a few hours left, then that wasn't how I wanted to spend my time. I wanted to walk around the area I'd come to look on as my home, the few blocks around the Lishi Hutong, and I wanted a last visit to the Panjiayuan Antique Market.
Plus, Martin Backman, my Beijing friend, had kindly offered to put me up overnight at his digs in an area of Beijing closer to the airport so that I could avoid the Beijing traffic in the hours before my flight home, and that would also afford me an opportunity to see Martin's fine collection of vintage Chinese mechanical watches.
So that's what's here...my last looks at the "home" neighbourhood that I knew I'd miss so much (and I do), a last visit to Panjiayuan, and some stuff around Martin's place...
One of the many local China Police neighbourhood offices throughout the city. As it happens, when I was in Shijiazhuang, I got newbie-to-the-city lost and so I decided to hop into a local Police station for help. None of the officers spoke English but a couple of officers did their level best, smiles all around, to figure out what I wanted, while a couple more wandered off busy with other stuff.
About ten minutes later, back come the two officers who left, along with a local middle-school English teacher and his girlfriend, both evidently friends of one of the officers. They got me squared away and un-lost in very short order, and after a lot more smiles from everyone, and much hand-shaking, I was back on my way.
These next few shots are a top-down view of what the multi-family enclaves on either side of the hutong lanes look like, and careful examination will show what the places are like. You'll see porches, gardens, solar water-heating apparatus, other covered areas and multi-level living. There's a lot going on in the hutongs, all the time, just like in any neighbourhood anywhere. anywhere
This fella was all smiles and just plain fun...and obviously not camera shy :-)
This Panjiayuan seller provided my family and friends with a bunch of fun tourist-style souvenirs, at really decent prices after some fun bargaining.
.... and my last look at the Panjiayuan market...
...and the street signs to my "home" in Beijing. I have no way to describe how "at home" I felt in the hutong, and no way to describe how much I miss it already.
These next few shots are just everyday Lishi hutong scenes,,,and, to my eyes, beautiful and friendly.
.... neighbourhood kids being picked up after school...
A hostel a ways down the Lishi laneway.
This is a building near where Martin stays...
...and a night scene near Martin's place...
...and some day scenes in Martin's neighbourhood...
...including a bunch of cultural groups practicing in a very cool park near Martin's home. There were big and small vocal groups, some small instrumental assemblies, and dancers...all sorts of stuff going on...
... welcome to the Chinese version of a toilet. Works fine once you get the methodology :-)
Beijing airport... :-( ...and my visit to China is just about over.
...just lifting of and away. I'm not smiling.
This kinda says it all.
I miss China.