A Glimpse of Old Beijing

A Hutong in Beijing – Reflections of Ancient China

Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, and Beijing, China: Part 9 of 10

It was our last full day in China yesterday and upon arriving in Beijing from Manzhouli, we headed straight to the Philippine Embassy for a courtesy call to Ambassador Sonia Brady. She spoke about the the roles of the Philippine Embassy and the situation of the Filipinos in China.

Goodbye Manzhouli! – Manzhouli Airport

With Ambassador Sonia Brady

After the embassy visit, we were brought to Tiantan Hotel to check-in for the night. While the rest of the group went to do their last minute shopping, I went to do the Rickshaw Hutong Tour in HouHai.

Hutongs are the narrow streets or alleys known especially in Beijing. The width of the lanes are not more than 9 meters. Many of the hutongs are even less than 9 meters wide.

Most of the hutongs in China were demolished to make way for new constructions. But some hutongs have been considered as protected areas to preserve Chinese cultural history.

The rickshaw driver first charged me 150 yuan and I bargained it down to 60 yuan. I didn’t want to go through the process of more haggling since I was already quite exhausted.

The lifestyle of the people in the hutongs is still the same as some years ago – houses contain only the basic furniture such as bed, a dining table, some even without living rooms. Electricity is scarce, ergo, it was quite dark in the evening. I was glad to take the afternoon to sundown hutong tour because I was able to see the transformation of the activities from day to night.

Typical Hutong Life – It’s Quite Warm Inside the House

Lifeless Hutong at Night

Guanghua Temple Dating Back to Yuan Dynasty

Mr. Rickshaw and Me

Aside from the hutongs, the rickshaw driver brought me to Guangha Temple (one of the old temples constructed in Yuan Dynasty), Prince Chun’s Mansion (Prince Chun is the father of Emperor Guangxu of Qin Dynasty; the mansion is where the emperor was born), the Residence of Soong Ching Ling (the Honorary President of PRC; the residence was originally the imperial garden of the father of Pu Yi, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty), Hutong Bar called the No Name Bar, Sycee Bridge (the bridge was built in the Ming Dynasty and looks like an inverted sycee, which was the common form of Chinese currency in ancient times), the Bell and Drum Towers, and the Lotus Market (this was my third visit to the Lotus Market!).

After the tour, I treated myself to one of the chic restaurants in Lotus Market in HouHai – the Buffalo! The food was good and so was the ambiance!

It was nice to get a glimpse of the hutongs. It spoke a lot about old Beijing.

Some Masks at the Lotus Market

HouHai’s Buffalo – Too Romantic for a Solo Dinner (Haha!)

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