biking the hutongs….
We woke up this morning to an absolute beautiful day! I was thrilled, because we had planned to go on a bike tour in the downtown ‘ancient’ areas… called: Hutongs. We learned that the word “hutong” means ‘well’- and each of these little areas shared a well, so that is how they were distinguished- by the well you used. The buildings/homes/roads are upwards of 700-800 years old. And these areas are starting to disappear to make way for new development and modernization. Sounds like there are some efforts being made to preserve and protect these ancient places. They are literally winding alley ways of homes, stores and restaurants, bars. I love the opportunity to wander around and check things out… This weekend, a friend of ours decided to pay us a visit (our first visitor!). He has been working down in Shanghi for a week or 2, and jumped on a flight up here for the weekend. Man, it’s so hard to decide what to do and see in Beijing when you only have 2 days! IMPOSSIBLE!.. so we had been determining what to do. I had so much fun bike riding in the city, and eric found a bike touring company that you can get on tours- and they provide the bikes(ones that are built for cruising, with a big wide cushy seat, and basket on the front)…so we thought that would be a great experience. The kids were so jealous that I got to ride around, so they were on board. We had to be there at 10 (we were totally late)…and we met right down by the Forbidden City and took off on bikes. Ok, so as a mother- there was a certain level of panic going on inside me as we all took off right into traffic surrounding the serious tourist attractions in heart of Beijing. Right as we took off, we were contending with public busses pulling in and out- I was so proud if the boys. They were each on a bike, and quincy was on a trailer bike right behind eric, so I was glad didn’t have to worry too much about her. We had 4 adults and 3 kids and another guy from Washington DC. It was really nice having the tour guide. He spoke great English and did a great job herding us along, and offering insight about what we were seeing. It was fascinating. I didn’t take very good photos. It’s hard to concentrate on everything and take photos. I’d like to walk it as well. I love checking out old stuff. Being in this area really reminded me of some places in Portugal. Right as we were coming into the Hutong we were touring, there was this hard core traffic jam. I mean, these roads were just NOT big enough for cars, and they were doing construction making matters worse. As we came up on the main problem, we could see that the ‘road’ had been torn up and big trenches were dug up, and there were about 20 people trying to move this huge 3” cable. Our tour guide told us that they were bringing in electricity to the Hutong- after 800 years of coal burning… pretty cool. We were laughing because there was this guy in the traffic jam, and he seemed pretty mad. He just yelled something at someone, turned off his car, got out, slammed the door and took off-leaving the car blocking everything. Awesome! There was some pretty intense moments (an old guy crashed into Colton and made him fall, and explained to eric that he doesn’t have brakes)…but we really did have a fabulous time. Of course…after we were done, the kids were starving, and we had McDonalds. Again, a bit of a buzz-kill…but I can only ask so much of them! LOL.
Eric, Mike and the boys went to Silk Street to get some stuff for Mike to take home, and Quincy, Kylee and I got dropped off at this fancy new mall called ‘the place’. It’s more like a mall at home. Really nice, really big… some really cool shops and they ultra fabulous ‘play place’ for kids. I will post photos of that later. It blew my mind.
I am SO tired. Kylee and I went for a run tonight. I have been out about 4 times, and I am feeling pretty good. My ankle is still bothering me a little, but I really need the ‘mental’ side of getting out! so that has been good. Tonight the boys rode their bikes along with us… they are so happy to have their bikes! And I am so happy to have my bed. It’s funny, as I sit here typing, I just relish how I ‘sink’ down into my mattress! SO comfy.
It’s been fun to unpack. It’s like Christmas. I still have a bunch of stuff I need to go through, and there is a lot of organization that needs to happen. It’s overwhelming.
Ok-I need to feed connor, and get some sleep!
i am adding another album w/ some shots of today. -i am getting pretty good at taking photos while riding, but it might be more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving!