It’s easy for us misinformed Westerners, even knowing China is huge, to think in terms of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong as big cities and a bunch of farmers in the hinterland.
China has 22 cities bigger than L.A., our second biggest city.
As much as I could live in Hong Kong and love Shanghai, Beijing doesn’t do much for me.
Given that it is the capital of China and is the third largest city in the world with 3,000 years of history, it certainly is important though.
Since we have been here three times previously and have visited the usual – Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Olympic Venue, and even their cheap markets, we opted to check out how some of the regular folks live.
We took a fun Rickshaw tour.
There are old scrap bikes all over the place, chained for theft protection apparently.
We walked along some famous pedestrian streets that are loaded with thriving middle class Chinese. Nothing topped Nanluoguxiang, (South Luogu Lane), an 800-meter, 800-year old alley. It is wall-to-wall cafes, bars, and shops all designed in classical Chinese ‘hutong’ style. Notice how young everybody is (present company excluded).
We ducked out of the hordes for a relaxing lunch with Joan and Charlie.
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt.