Wangfujing area of Beijing

So, the area we’re in is a bit south of Dongcheng District, to the east of the Forbidden City, right off Wangfujing street. I can’t remember if I’ve said this already but Wangfujing, at least right now, is set up to be a tourist destination for people from elsewhere in China. So most of its stuff-for-tourists to buy is Swiss watches, and Legos, and Disney logo things, and Adidas and Nike, basically a lot of brand name mall stuff. Also… meat on a stick. I am laughing at myself a bit because I wanted presents for people back home but I don’t have anything.

Today, we ended up kind of sitting on a street corner in a very random place out near a dumpling restaurant that had rave reviews for its soup dumplings. People were hanging out on the street as they were in the hutong off of Jin Bao, but things did not seem so oddly… polished and swept. There was litter, people were walking dogs, I can’t explain, but it felt more lived in and normal. So I reassessed my first impression of working class life in Beijing, and am now figuring that the neighborhood I saw at first *was* “special for olympics” i.e. had been kind of cleaned up and renovated. Anyway, we hung out next to a canal or river, sitting on the curb, bought some popcorn coated with chocolate powder from a street vendor (5 yuan), went to the convenience store for cookies and soda, and I got some guys at a bike and motorcycle fixing stand to let me pump up my tires, for half a yuan. We figured out afterwards that they were astonished and disapproving that Zond-7 just sat there while I crossed the street and did the tire pumping. They were quite normal and friendly to me and I just kind of liked them and their whole roadside bike-fixing stand. I pictured the new monumental sculpture that would include the guy with the welding thingie, and the popcorn-making girl with her machine that fit on her bike trailer, and a lady in a flowered sweater walking a pug dog.

The dumplings were awesome… I had a really strangely nice time sitting on the corner watching the kids get out of school, with their blue track suits…

3 Responses to “Wangfujing area of Beijing”

  1. lyssa

    I like to take photos from my travels and make them into notecards to give people. Better than knockoff Nikes 🙂

  2. TravelingEM

    Just wanted to say hi and that I’m loving following your adventure through Beijing. Makes me consider a future jaunt out there. Especially for good dumplings – those are not to be found (so far at least) in Moscow.

  3. Marena in Beijing

    I like the scene of imagining the street like turned to art – as there is some like that Wangfujing. I really hope Beijing can keep its down-to-earth charm alongside the modern.

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