China Gallery ~ Beijing 1
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Nigel enters China
September 26 2001

It was eeeeaasy does it - they only give your face a cursory glance. As long as the paperwork you hand them seems to be in order it's "Welcome to China, behave and spend a lot!" Breaching the Bamboo curtain was easy. In fact it was so easy I was a little disappointed at not being interrogated, humiliated or at the very least, intimidated.

 

Build new Beijing
September 2001

"Build New Beijing - Hold Great Olympics"

So say the posters displayed in many of the taxis of Beijing, and here is an example of that philosophy in action. The ancient and atmospheric Hutongs are being torn down at an accelerated pace now that China is cleaning house in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.

 

But preserve some of the old...
The Forbidden City

October 4 2001

This is a large panoramic picture of one of the huge courtyards inside the Imperial Palace. During the Cultural Revolution, young Mao fanatics wanted to tear down all the ancient monuments. It is only because of Chou Enlai's personal protection that plces such as the Temple of Heaven and The Forbidden City still exict today.

 

The Seething Masses
October 4 2001

Tourism is big business in China and it came as no surprise that the busiest place in all the land was the Forbidden city in Beijing. Competition amongst the proletarian to get a brief glance of the greatest symbol of the aristocracy, the royal throne, is so fierce that soldiers are used to break up the fights and keep the crowd moving briskly.

 

China's heroes
September 2001

This is a small part of one of four monuments surrounding Mao's mausoleum in Tiananmen square. The inspirational Communist style depicts the determined, unyielding and fervent nature of the Chinese who make up an idealized People's Republic.

 

Hutong still life
September 2001

Beijing's Hutongs can be very drab and dreary, particularly on a rainy Saturday afternoon like the one when I took this picture. When one looks with the right attitude, beauty can be found everywhere.

 

 

Door handle
September 2001

Another of the bright spots it helps to notice in the Hutongs of Beijing

 

 

 

Kettle in the Hutong
September 2001

This doorway is typical of the alley and courtyard entrances in the Hutongs. Here there is often no electricity or plumbing and the black bricks to the right of the kettle are the compressed coal dust used for heating and cooking - just one of many causes of Beijing's terrible smog.

 

Dragon screen detail
September 2001

The ubiquitous Chinese dragon. This picture is just a small detail from the largest screen in China found in Behai park. These highly ornamental screens are used to deter and deflect bad spirits and cold winds as well as act as entry ways to temples and residences.

 

The Temple of Heaven
October 1 2001

The orb on top of this building was hit by lightening in 1889. Such a bad omen for the coming year had to have an explanation and after investigation one was found. Apparently a heretical caterpillar was about to reach the apex of the temple and incurred heavenly wrath. Several people were executed for allowing it to happen.

   
   


   

 

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