Friday, June 24, 2005

Laid back in Beijing

Laid back in Beijing
Originally uploaded by Dennis&Terri.
After two demanding days touring the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, we decided to check out the quieter, less crowded side of Beijing. The Back Lakes is a neighborhood originally built for families with ties to Chinese royalty but now is an upscale conglomeration of upper-crust homes, lakeside parks, trendy bars and the most obnoxious and parasitic people on the face of the Earth, i.e., Beijing rickshaw drivers. A life form so low on the evolutionary scale that they aspire to be plankton, these guys will literally block your path to attempt to hector you into doing business with them, and they don't just take a polite "no thanks" lying down, either. Not sure this is what Mao had in mind, but whatever. Otherwise, the Back Lakes was a very pleasant retreat from the frantic bustle of super-urbanized Beijing. Nearby are the Bell Tower (pictured below) and the Drum Tower, both ceremonial relics of old Beijing. Tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou, where we will meet up with our group and start preparing in earnest for meeting Eleanor on Monday.


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