The Hutongs are the old residential neighbourhoods of Chinese cities like Beijing. There are lots of narrow streets in a rough grid formation and off them small gated alleyways from which a number of families would like with a shared courtyard.
They are a lovely place just to wander. Many, if not most have been knocked down in the last 20 years or so to make way for the modern apartment blocks and 6 lane carriage ways that now cover every Chinese city it seems. This is not, however, without controversy. Many former residents feel they did not receive adequate, if any, compensation whilst others have made millions building on the former homes.
One thing to note for the average tourist wandering is that you are never far away from a public loo. Because they are old residential neighbourhoods built before plumbing was a consideration in China there are numerous public toilets. Which also means most restaurants and cafes don't waste precious seating space with something as unprofitable as a bog!
Interestingly, when talking to my students about the Hutongs they all felt it was a real shame that most had now gone, but when further asked if they would swap their luxury, modern apartments for one.. Well, you can guess their answers!
I took the picture below on the right first. I liked the modern Chinese guy absorbed in his phone sat in front of the Communist propaganda mural. I then took the snap on the left just to show the mural in all its glory. Even today, although perhaps more sophisticated the Party goes in for the big gesture to tell its narrative. Although these days it is not done through posters but through TV and film.
For those who like a good propaganda poster (and who doesn't?) I can highly recommend this museum in Shanghai which has a seemingly endless collection of them from the very earliest days of the Communist party. It's fascinating to see how the message subtly changes over time and the sophistication of how the message is put across also evolves.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.