Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beijing, China - A Hutong Home Visit

This was a big event for me on this tour.  I love to be able to see how people live.  We got out of our rickshaws (number duly noted) and walked through the hutong.  The Beijing hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences.  Many neighborhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong (town) and then joining one hutong to another hutong.  Since the mid 20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings.  More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve that aspect of Chinese cultural history. (source: wikipedia)

The first few photos show revocation in the area.  I learned that we were "Group C - Ms. Zhang's family" as we entered the courtyard residence.  Men were working on the courtyard doing normal fix-it stuff.  We were allowed to view the common room, kitchen, what appeared to be a formal dining room, and a bedroom, complete with television!  We were able to ask questions through an interpreter and it was a very nice setting.  Her husband is an artist and his works were for sale (no photos please).  The big discussion of the group was around the "one child policy".  It was explained that the government would pay medical and education for one child.  The rest was on the family to pay.

The home was well organized as a lot of activity went on in the small area.  Very nice visit.

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