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Walking around Beijing

Hutong--kidsplayingcards.JPGHere’s a photo of a group of children playing a lively game of cards in a hutong, or alleyway, the traditional housing area of Beijing. I’d read about how the hutongs were being torn down in preparation for the Olympics and was worried about this, but there are many still very much alive and well. They are remarkable community settings and these kids were having a great time. You can see an old woman behind them, and there was an older girl keeping an eye on them. I just showed her my camera and gestured that I’d like to take a photo of the game. BadmintoninBeijing.JPGAs you can see, the boys weren’t at all interested in me; their own game was far more absorbing than a foreigner.

I was in the hutong for a meeting with Nick Young of China Development Brief. For some information about life in China and about schools in the hutong, do read Nick’s latest blog entry.

And I enjoyed watching this game of two-handed badminton in front of a hospital. There were people everywhere, some sleeping on the pavement, others chatting, and others in line. I do think the man playing here was trying to look good for the camera, and I just wish I’d caught one of his backstrokes! (I can’t explain how they used both rackets.)

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