After our delightful walk in Jingshan Park it was back onto the bus and a return to our hotel, well at least as close as our bus could get to the hotel, a walk of about 400m away. That was OK. We walked by a 7 ELEVEN store which meant a chance to stock up on provisions like milk, a couple of cans of beer and a packet of peanuts. It was time to put the feet up.
My 950ml carton of pasteurised Whole Milk had this interesting set of words on it, “More nutritious and healthier come from purity, fashion and new technology”. Even so, it tasted OK in tea and coffee.
After drinks with a few of the group in my room at 17h00, we set off for dinner at 18h00. The plan was to visit a local restaurant mentioned by our Chinese guide called Hero – will he be a hero or won’t he be? Only time will tell! He appeared to be a very likeable chap with a good command of English and an accent easily understood. He told us that if we went to this restaurant, we would have to point to what we wanted on the menu as this was a VERY Chinese part of town. Sounded good to me.
Just four of us went for this walk… others chose to sleep after their long plane flight. It’s always interesting to take a walk in city streets… observing life is one of the joys of travel.
This white pooch had just been picked up from a grooming place right opposite our hotel. All fluffed up, and no doubt smelling like a garden full of roses, it was placed on the owner’s three-wheeled battery powered trike to be taken home. Cute!
Everywhere you wander there are interesting doors and their locks.
Some doors are open and its always good to peek through doorways… it’s sometimes very revealing about local life. In here there were lots of scooters… not sure why!
There are still many bikes and scooters in Beijing all of which are battery-powered nowadays – cuts down on pollution. They are a faster, cheaper and cleaner way of getting around the the often grid-locked streets than by car or bus.
And while we’re talking traffic, its important for Australians abroad in a Chinese city to remember that the traffic here in China travels on the opposite side of the road to the way we drive. So we must remember to look the ‘right’ way first. And what is another trap for the unwary visitor, is the plethora of electric vehicles. They make for some heart-stopping moments. Cars, bikes, scooters, three-wheeled delivery vehicles etc. sneak up behind you without any noise what-so-ever. Before you know it a rear-view mirror sails past your elbow. And of course, vehicles can come at you from any direction. Road markings seem to be there to keep the paint manufactures in business… and as our lovely guide Hero said, traffic signals are there just as a minor distraction, on many occasions not to be taken any notice of. This is not good for an Aussie visitor’s calm demeanour. I know!
In one street I saw this car with somewhat unusual clamps attached to its wheels… not the normal sorts of clamps put on by parking police. So why are they there? Well it seems that they are there because there are still quite a lot of dogs wandering the streets of Beijing… and these boards protect the car’s tyres from being peed upon! Believe it or not! Up to you.
We walked on. Eventually, we came to the aforementioned restaurant… and then walked straight past. We really didn’t like the look of the place when we saw it up close. Looked a bit grubby! Not a good idea to start our trip with upset tummies! So what now?
We ended up walking about 2 km all the way back to where we had made a stop earlier in the day opposite a lovely building that was a Christian Church.
There we found a noodle house which had been spotted across the road from the church earlier. I don’t really think it was much, if any, cleaner. The vegetable noodles I ordered had a layer of nondescript grey vegetables floating on top of a dark brown broth. In the broth I found a few noodles – doesn’t sound very exciting does it? And, it wasn’t. The least said the better particularly after our wonderful lunch.
As we wandered out into the streets again I noticed these mops leaning against a tree. Seems like some things in the neighbourhood must at least get a bit of a lick and a clean! Or was it a clever sculpture?
This dancer, a male, was performing on a small stage in the Night Market just a short distance from where we’d just eaten. He put on quite a show.
What a hive of industry the Night Market was. Great ambience and fun to be there. And here, there were all kinds of little food stalls selling things to eat… some we recognised and some we didn’t.
Of particular interest were the scorpions impaled on skewers… see video clip. Many of them were still waving their little legs around; legs that were never going to take them anywhere except to the grill. I felt a bit sorry for them, but not so sorry that I wanted to put a skewer’s worth out of their misery. No. I’ll try a lot of things but I can’t quite come at scorpions.
There was a lot of paraphernalia on sale including lasers, brass door knockers, hats.. you name it, it was there somewhere. I’ll just add some photos to give you a feel for the place.
Yes, indeed, it was a very busy place. But then Beijing is a very populous city. Coming from small cities like Canberra and Newcastle, we were not quite used to having to make our way through so many people. It was difficult not to lose your friends in the throng.
At last we began a slow wander back to the hotel, retracing the road we had come, but this time with a Daagen Haas ice-cream to help us on our way. Very good it was, too.
There was a rather good light sculpture in the street outside the Crown Plaza Hotel.
A closer inspection as the sculpture changed colours.
And just before I finish for this musing… another observation. I’m a bit of a tram/trolley buff and am always interested in seeing how this form of transport works in a city.
So, of interest to me here in Beijing were some of the trolley buses that trundle around the streets, particularly when one realises they are running around without attachment to any overhead wires. These buses must have storage batteries that allow them to do this. On our walk back to the hotel I noticed a cowling arrangement suspended above the roadway at the beginning of a section of the usual double wire overhead. Sure enough, the next trolley bus that came along stopped under the cowling and up went its contact poles and away it went on its merry way, again connected to a ‘proper’ power source. The section without wires was in a posh area, so I can only assume that overhead wires wouldn’t look ‘nice’… so they aren’t there!
Electric cabling tells a lot about a place…. and sometimes they are not very pretty! Electric light poles in many places around Beijing look like the ones in India – a complete tangle of wires. The Chinese must work on the same principle as the Indians … that if something goes wrong with a connection, it is easier to string a new line than to find the fault in the existing line. There’s black spaghetti everywhere.
And that’s it for this musing. More anon
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