Monday, February 7, 2011
A day wandering the hutongs - Beijing's backstreets, lanes & alleys, from Qiamen south of Tiananmen Square to Hou Hai, north-west of the Forbidden City. Much has been bullozered in the name of progress, but plenty still remains and is protected. There is a tendency to romanticise hutong homes but in truth a lot are dilapidated, without running water, heat and even electricity in some cases, and many residents often prefer to live in the newer apartment blocks. That said, there are desirable hutong addresses, particularly around the Forbidden City, with beautiful courtyards and all mod-cons. Anyway, we're quite happy living where we are.