China looks like a chicken, this is what me my friend Summer told when I asked her couple of things about China. And Beijing is situated right up in the neck. Beijing is made up of the Chinese characters 北京. 北 (bei) means north and 京 (jing) is capital – thus Beijing means “northern capital”. They settled the city behind the mountains – as a wall of protection.
The city itself has 6 rings. I’m living in number two, there was a wall around but they destroyed it and used the stolen bricks for their houses in the so called hutongs. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another.
Siheyuan – the name of a typical hutong house – means 4 join yard. Normally one family lived in there. The best room is the one that points to the sun.
I take a walk through my hutong. Sun shines through the trees in this little street. Left and right are shops. The butcher, someone who makes duvets, the shoemaker, small tiny shops where you can buy all kind of stuff. It’s always busy but never stressful. People rest, stand there, having a talk to someone. Bicycles and electric scooters crossing all the time. Mans playing Chinese chess in the street. Time is passing by here far away from the big city rush out there of Beijing. Here we know each other, we greet us by nodding our heads and saying ‘see you tomorrow’ when we leave.