Hubby left for work at 7am and I got up from bed at 9am for the sake of getting food aka breakfast in my tummy before they closes at 10.30am then back to my room and do some work, blog a little, chat a little before the Hubby came home back at 3pm. Off we go to Hutong Village.
Hutong Village is considered one of the very popular tourist attraction in Beijing. This is where you are able to catch a glimpse of the local daily lifestyle. It is impossible to cover Hutong on foot even thought some houses have been demolished to make way for modernized development. However, some have been conserved and is possible to take an organized tour on a pedicab or rent a bicycle. Or maybe a tour guide if you have the budget.
Hutong in Mandarin is “residential alley” and Beijing was once over-run with neighborhoods of them, boasting the true flavors of the Chinese and the city.
However, over the last decade, Beijing has been modernizing, and Hutongs have been disappearing in favor for ring roads, high rises and stadiums catering to the Olympic games.
A city once crowded with streams of bicycles, is now characterized by swarms of traffic at all hours of the day and a thick, haze!
However, that day the sky was super clear. No haze at all!
We stop by a chinese tea house for the tea ceremony. This is another new that I’ve learnt during my trip. In some part of brewing chinese tea, brewed tea was poured into the thimble-shaped fragrance cup (see picture below). Place the small teacup over the thimble and then turn them upside down very quickly. This is how the tea was served to us.
Gently remove the fragrance cup and allow the tea to inhabit the small cup. Put the fragrance cup between your palm and roll them. Now, appreciate the fragrant by sniffing the fragrance cup. You’ll be surprised at how strong the aroma is from this tiny cup. Interesting isn’t it?
Moving on after getting outselves warm in the tea house as the weather outside is about 6 Celsius.
Emperor/Empress costumes on rental for studio photography
From across the road, I spotted ‘tang (sweets) hulu’. When I was a child, I used to see this sweets in Chinese drama and told myself that one day, if I ever see this, no matter how much or in what situation, I must savor this once. And lo and behold, I yelled, “STOP!!!!” I rush down from my pedicab and get myself one at RMB4 (RM2).
The fruits is actually cored fresh red dates coated with harden sugar syrup. Traditionally Tang Hulu used to be Hawthorn (shan zha) but nowadays fresh fruits has been used. I’ve tried the hawthorn version. They doesn’t taste as good as red dates.
And if you think RMB4 is cheap, the next day a street vendor sold it at RMB1 per stick and another vendor out beat him by shouting RMB1 for 2 sticks!!! And I go, “sucks!”
The gate building is the only thing that we can see along the Hutongs. Chinese people used to try to protect their privacy from being intruded by strangers. You don’t simply go inside their courtyard.
The Hutong tour guide telling us that we are going to visit this particular family…. and a reminder to be respectful and behave after all, this is their home.
According to the tour guide, during season month, they grew vegetables and fruits like grapes, tomatoes, loofah, etc. I’m sure it will be a beautiful sight.
Another part of their house. They are the 5th generation staying in this house. It may look quite run down but over the years, they did some renovation on the interior like using gas stove (with cooker hob somemore!), cement flooring, etc… and I go, “chehhhhh”.
The house owner showed us a few skills like Chinese calligraphy writing using water and written on the floor with a very huge Chinese brush. The toy that I am holding is called ‘cher ling’ or Chinese Yo-Yo. Sorry for the bad picture. It was taken under low lighting.
As we were leaving the place about 5.30pm, the sun started to set. This is the most beautiful sun that I’ve captured so far. The amazing thing is, I saw this type of sun every evening while I was in Beijing.
Night life had begun in Hutong. There are lots of pub that catered for kwai low tourist.
We settled for dinner nearby. I was already not feeling like myself during dinner and thought that I was merely tired and at the same time my tummy felt like having gastric. The next morning, I woke up with a series of diarrhoea. Was purging every 5 minutes and was bed ridden for the whole day. There goes my Day 3 in Beijing. No photo of Day 3 then and we shall proceed to Day 4.
More photos in my Facebook.