Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beijing Street Scenes

Use Visa here lantern
It's everywhere you want to be!--even in the capital of Chinese communism, where not too long ago, Western banking was viewed as evil. My, how things change. Today's Beijing is in many ways like capitalistic Seoul: broad, bustling streets filled with cars; massive modern buildings; colorful nightlife areas; impromptu markets where vendors set up their shit before taking it down to look for greener pastures; traditional houses rubbing shoulders with skyscrapers; utter squalor living a block away from entrepreneurial wealth.

CCTV buildingmodern hotel (?)
broad, clean sidewalkcity stream
not a wealthy person's abodeshops

The subway system is clean, efficient and cheap. Here is a view of the platform of the Wudaokou station near Tanner's place.

subway platform
Many of the buses are "cream-puffs", two-section affairs with an accordion-style articulation joint. In addition to the bus driver, there is a ticket-taker who sits at the intake door, which is in the center of the bus.

Beijing Metro bus interior

There is a fair amount of public art in Beijing, and it seems every government building is adorned with a statue of Chairman Mao:

public art in BeijingChairman Mao statue

Here are some artistic shop signs captured by Tanner:

shop signshop sign
shop signshop sign

pipe vendor
You can shop for just about anything in Beijing ... even oranges.

Tanner tossing an orange
The nightlife scene is fair, but doesn't being to compare to the twenty or so hotspots Seoul has. Clockwise from top left: a movie or TV scene being filmed in a boutique bar and shopping street similar to Insa-dong, in Dongcheng neighborhood; strip of bars in old Embassy section called Sanlitun; the Shichahai lakes area; a band playing in a bar at Shichahai.

night scene at Sanlitun
bar band at Shichahainightlife at Shichahai lakes

Remember to click for the big picture! I have two more posts planned on my Beijing visit: a food photoessay, and a comparison of Seoul and Beijing based on one week's impressions.

It was cold the whole time I visited--of course, what can you expect in February? In fact, it snowed the Tuesday morning I left. This is a photo of a courtyard in TB's apartment complex:

snow in TB's courtyard

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