How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing, Day 5, Part 3: The Hutong and a Rickshaw Tour

86 Comments


After the disappointment of Olympic Park, the day became more interesting. We visited The Hutong, once the old walled city. The buildings were ancient with age and from life. We drove through the shopping district but did not stop. As the bus meandered through the old town’s narrow streets, we learned a new subway station had been planned for the area and building were being torn down and replaced.

To learn more, go to http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/hutong/

We were headed for a rickshaw ride.

That's a lot of rickshaws. This is still a popular draw in the Hutong.

That’s a lot of rickshaws. This is still a popular draw in the Hutong.

I had been worried about runners pulling us in traffic, as in cars. I suppose I’ve seen too many movie. Ricksaws had progress to pedal power.

Sue and I not sure what to make of this. We're not exactly featherweights.

Sue and I not sure what to make of this. We’re not exactly featherweights.

The roads are bricked and narrow. Other customers other than our Group 8 had come for a ride.

Someone else enjoying a ride. It's a wonderful day for it.

Someone else enjoying a ride. It’s a wonderful day for it.

Falling buildings and new parked cars. The alleys were full of contrasts. You wouldn’t believe the electrical boxes and the the plugs inserted in them helter skelter.

An artist's work on display

An artist’s work on display

We all know alleys are a playground for wandering, stray cats.  I saw none, nor any dog either.

Restaurant tables and chairs. Too simple. Let's bring all of the inside out.

Restaurant tables and chairs outside. Too simple. Let’s bring all of the inside out.

Sue and I whispered behind the driver’s back how guilty we felt having this not-so-young man peddling for all he was worth. We had been instructed to tip him, but no more than $2.00 USD.

The driver wasn't young but he must have been in good shape for all that heavy peddling.

The driver wasn’t young but he must have been in good shape for all that heavy peddling.

 Our driver,  a warm and generous guy, was happy to have a picture with Sue and I.

We weren't sure if he understood anything we said to him but he gave off happy vibes.

We weren’t sure if he understood anything we said to him but he gave off happy vibes. That’s the man-made lake in the background. How many people and how long did that take?

The things people throw out. I didn’t see anything wrong with the girl’s two wheeler but I also didn’t jump out of the ricksaw to inspect it.

Looks like home. All ready for garbage pickup.

Looks like home. All ready for garbage pickup.

I cannot recall is this is a restaurant or a temple.

Not a great photo because of the narrow street and my amateur photography.

Not a great photo because of the narrow street and my amateur photography.

 

Next on August 1, Beijing Day 5, Part 4: A Special Peking Duck Dinner

For more related links, go to China tab at top of the page.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

86 thoughts on “Beijing, Day 5, Part 3: The Hutong and a Rickshaw Tour

  1. Love those smiling faces. the photo with the rickshaws lined up is brilliant. Well done!

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  2. I understand tipping causes a lot of controversy in foreign countries and can upset the local economy. I was told not to tip a guide who spent her entire day with me more than a couple of dollars in Costa Rica. I gave her more…I just couldn’t help myself.

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    • We did as well. How can you not when two dollars is so little to us? A young boy I fell for–must have been 16 if he was a day–but it’s difficult to tell with some cultures. Tipping was no object for me no matter the rules where he was concerned. I say no more. <3

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  3. Like you, I’d spend the entire ride feeling guilty someone was pulling me around as a result of their own exertion. I know it may be their livelihood, but that type of travel is not for me!

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    • I know. Sure the drivers build muscles but it doesn’t feel right. I was especially pleased the rickshaws weren’t the runner kind–all legs and no wheels like in the old, old movies. Although we had no idea before we got there.

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  4. I would have felt sad/guilty about that poor rickshaw puller as well and would have wanted to tip him more than $2.00. He looks so sweet in that lovely photo of you and your friend. Amazing that there weren’t sparks coming out of the electrical boxes on the walls. And that temple/restaurant is really nice looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our driver’s disposition couldn’t have been more wonderful, unless he was an excellent actor for which I would feel extra guilty. His exuberance was catching and gave his job added validity and respect in my eyes.

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  5. Love seeing the photos. I’m not a traveller so it’s simply wonderful to have others share these wonderful sights from around the world. :)

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  6. I had to laugh about the bicycle being on the street. The first time I lived in Germany, we always went out on trash night to see what we might find. I brought back to the states an exquisite Grandfather clock with coral bells. I’ve only had to have it worked on twice in 35 years. I also found numerous other collector clocks, a marble top dresser and side board along with several smaller items. Every assignment after the first one, to a foreign post, I shipped light of my own things. That way when I returned to the states I could usually stay within the allowed weight limit. It always amazed me what the foreign nationals were calling trash. Americans were now calling antiques.

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    • I have a cousin my age in Germany. When she wrote about putting cast-off into the street and people cruising them before the garbage pickup, I felt I wanted to do a trial run. They would never throw ‘terrible furniture’ into the street. The neighbors would sit in judgement.
      The finds you mention sound wasteful cast-offs to me. I’m too old-school for such wastefulness. I have to close my eyes and breathe deeply and often when I notice (close your eyes now) what my daughter and her family cast off. Makes my teeth hurt as well. :-( That’s the way of the new generation. They don’t understand how hard their parents worked for what they have today. Where did we go wrong? Were we too willing to be helpful?

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      • Hi Tess – I believe one of the major differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is that we were able to see the possibilities in what we ‘found.’ Additionally, we treasured solid wood and great workmanship. When I clean the various pieces of furniture I rescued from the Germany, Italy, Holland, Sweden and the list goes on I always wonder about who owned the piece of furniture before it was given to someone who had so little use for it. I wasn’t married to Tom when I was collecting but funny as it turned out, he was living in Germany a couple of the times that I was (and only about 20 or so Ks away)! His ex-wife didn’t want ‘that old used furniture in her home’ so between the two of us, we’ve collected some really nice pieces. Tom’s always been excellent with restoration of antiques and he did so lovingly with each piece we merged into our household.

        Back to where we went wrong with our kids. What I saw and Tom now agrees, is that he spoiled his girls rotten. He was a single father when his daughters were 3 and 7 and he was active duty military. Thankfully he didn’t go to the field but had a suit and tie position but it still kept him running.

        Neither of his girls have expressed an interest in any of our antiques and we have a few pieces that were handed down to us from our respective families. His girls and grandchildren want NEW. I’m convinced that’s because of getting immediate gratification plus too much television where the storyline never includes how hard you have to work to actually own something. Additionally, our society is now allowing children 2 and 3 years old to have a cell phone or i-Pad to play games on. Why would we think they would want the truly ‘fine’ things in their lives. They are living in a throw away world.

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      • *nods*
        I was a single mom and anyway, I’m old school: you need to earn what you get because life doesn’t give you anything free. My daughter thinks she did without (I disagree) and her kids 6 and 10 last Christmas were given a tablet and iPad respectively.
        When my mom died, though, my daughter wanted something of hers–anything, big or small–to have and to see every day.

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  7. Another great post with great pictures! I think I would feel guilty being hauled around too, but I would quickly get over it…lol

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    • This sweet man, though I;m sure he’s done this for a long enough time to build up his muscles, still made me feel an abuser. I tried to come up with something to make me feel better about what he did for a living. If this was the only job he could find, or keep, or be terrific at, or feel good doing, I still do not look down on him. His disposition was so sunny, no-one could look down on him for the way he made his living. He deserved respect and would have loved to talk to him but his English was limited. <3

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  8. Gorgeous! And you are such a cutie! (seen the photos :) ) Inside and out! I wonder if the writing above the temple/restaurant would confirm it one way or the other. You might need a translator! :)

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    • Nice to see you Gigi GALORE. <3
      Yes, the inscription brought to mind the possibility of translation but I know no-one. I hate that. I do have a subscriber who reads here from Hong Kong. Might she jump in? Fingers crossed. <3

      I have seen here in the last day or two. Will have to keep an eye out if she doesn't see this comment.

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  9. Tess, you look awesome in your pictures! And I’m with Carrie on the rickshaws. I don’t like that either. Any reason you were instructed to not tip him more than $2?

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  10. Okay, I have to know, in case I ever go to China….. Is it okay to ask the Rickshaw driver’s if THEY want to have a seat in the rickshaw and let me have a go at the pedals? :) I did enjoy this part of the day!

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  11. fabulous,,,, great tour…

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  12. You are clinging on tightly to that bag – were you frightened of losing it?

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  13. Thanks Tess, I’m loving your tour. They’d probably eaten all the cats and dogs!

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  14. I need to go to China.
    Hell! I have been everywhere else….

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  15. Tess the pictures in this one are brilliant and your commentary equally so! I would have tipped more also! You are a superior tour guide.

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    • I cannot believe how much I have been enjoying posting this ‘tour’. If I didn’t blog about my trip, the best parts would be forgotten now. Instead I get to dig into my travel bag and look at all the goodies hidden there.
      Thanks for coming along for the ride, Val. I do appreciate the company. <3

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  16. More great photos, Tess. I’m loving China!

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  17. great photos! I’d love a ride in a rickshaw but yea, driving one is not the job for me to be sure!!

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  18. Love the pictures, Tess. Now if only Crazy D would travel in a civilized way like you do…instead of lovely scenery, quaint rickshaw rides, he gets doctors in back alleys, typhoons, bugs, rats. Of course, if he did that, I’d have nothing to horrify our readers with. Your trip has been delightful and I’ve enjoyed being along for the discovery.

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  19. That pink bike! I want that bike!
    Wonderful photos and commentary, Tess. You look like you’re having such a great time…
    Ellespeth

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  20. Lol great photos. Great exercise driving rickshaws! :)

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  21. Is the air as bad as everyone says? All those bikes and still the air is lousy. I guess we should stick with cars.

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    • That’s the thing, Jacqui. I didn’t ask the rest of our group, but Sue and I went with lots of (dental) masks but not once found it necessary to use them. The odd time you’d find a girl with a designer mask on (i.e. pink eyelet or black something that made a statement but don’t know what about).

      One morning looked a little hazy but as you can see from the Olympic Park post a week ago, how clear and blue the air and sky were. I didn’t even pick up any stink.

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  22. You are doing a great job of bringing us all along with you on your trip. I’m feeling it. Love the “back alley” photos. Off the beaten path is where you need to be in order to get the feel of the areas. And, the rickshaws are so Chinese. Couldn’t go to China without that experience now, could you? Looking forward to your next post. :-)

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    • Thank YOU. I’m pleased you want to follow along. The trouble with me is I tend to see things the same as I did as a kid, what others tend to overlook. I think. :-D

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      • That is not the trouble with you. You don’t have any trouble. You are taking in your experience in the way that is you. You are excited about it all, and that is wonderful. If being excited about something you are enjoying makes you feel like you are a kid again, so be it. Just enjoy! The thing that made me feel like a kid again was when I was in Disney World in Orlando. Being there, breathing in the excitement, the entertainment, the color, the sounds, the laughter – it was wonderful. And I went back several times! And felt like a kid all over again.

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      • Oh I agree with you about Disney World. I took my daughter when she was 6. She’s now a mom with two of her own but I still remember. I especially loved the parade in the evening. I bet I was more excited than she. :-D

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  23. Thanks lovely for China continued loved the pics. Especially the ones with you in :-) Rickshaws how good would it be to be the driver, then again I think it would also be terrifying. xx

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  24. Fantastic post Tess. I love reading and looking at the photos from your trip :)

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  25. I love the exercise in contrasts in large cities, yet what I would want to say would be enough to fill a couple of posts.

    Have you found out if it was a temple or restaurant?
    xxx

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  26. You look just as cute as can be in that rickshaw.

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  27. I think I may have missed some of your China travel stories, I need to go back and recap when I find the time. Found this one tonight, so let’s see. Wow! great photos, That man-made lake looks amazing. Great smilling faces too! :)

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  28. Fascinating story! The rickshaws, power outlets and wires reminded me of our trip to India, especially in New Delhi. One difference though – in New Delhi there are cows on the road too!

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  29. You do feel bad being a heavy Westerner in a rickshaw – by heavy I mean in my case, tall. I just finished Mao’s Last Dancer – I felt a lot more positively inclined about the Chinese after that. They were had, big time.

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  30. I think the Chinese will one day regret pulling down so much of old Beijing. So much better to renovate and gentrify.

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  31. Love the pics and of you especially, you go girl! You look great! Love the one of you with your friend Sue and your driver. What a sweet man he looks! I would love to take a rickshaw ride. Although, my mum, daughter and I once took a surrey ride through the streets of London and I wonder how we ever survived it, especially when our diver took us the wrong way around a roundabout…in central London. At night! Yikes….
    This day out definitely sounded much more fun that the previous one. I sensed your excitement and enjoyment of this.
    I’ll sign off now my friend, this is the last time I’ll visit here until I return to blogging, and I’ll be so behind I won’t know where to start! But I’ll be in touch as soon as I get back. Have a great couple of weeks and see you soon my friend, raring to go.. *she says optimistically* haha :D :P o_O <3 <3 <3

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  32. Great post! Love the photos and your interesting commentary (you look awesome in that shirt – I love that colour!). It takes me ages to read your stories and all the interesting comments – very enjoyable!

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  33. Sounds like you had some fun here, you look gorgeous in that photo with the driver, quite the glamorous lady! I think I expected China to be a lot more green and rural than it is, I mean I guess there are plenty of green and rural areas but in my mind it was much more like that all over!

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    • It IS rural but the cities are citified. This is and old, old part town that will soon disappear as they are rebuilding it. There are a LOT of contrasts in China.Everywhere.For now.

      Thank you for reading and joining in the conversation, Vanessa. Good to have you along. <3

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  34. Fabulous photos Tess! I would have been wondering the same thing about the rickshaw and feeling, very, very guilty. What great memories this trip has produced. So glad you got to go. All the best.

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  35. So come on, did you sneak him an extra dollar? He was pretty cute.

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  36. very cool means of transport, although I can’t say I’d want to be the “driver.” :)

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  37. Lovely snapshots.
    I particularly like the graffiti, in fact street art of any kind.

    Like

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