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The Hutongs

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After spending the night on a porcelain throne I spent some of the morning on it also. At 10 o'clock Angela, Nicky and I assembled in the lobby to decide what we could do with the day we had and the amount of time needed to visit nearly everywhere 'we' had left (Ming Tombs, Jin Shang Park and The Hutongs). We ended up going The Hutongs first and stayed there until 8 o'clock ish when most shops started to close and others were opening, there was an exclusive nightclub there that in the day looked like a shop underconstruction.

I have so much to say about The Hutongs: first thing I observed that it did not look much like a shanty street of shacks depicted in the brosure, but the shops were modern to china standards, the restaurants, a little stylish and posh looking interior, and the coffee shops were very cosy and inviting, but looked like greenhouses and sheds with a garden made on the walls, which just added to the experience. I had iced lemon tea and it was the best i've had, so refreshing! The sun was out too so i've got a bit of a tan, the street was a sun trap!

There was a lot of sellers of animals in shops and on the street; ferrets, puppies and birds, there were a lot of shops with ponds for fish too, but they weren't for sale. (I took pictures of them all! I also got stratched a little on my finger by a ferret whilst taking a photo, I don't think its broke the skin enough to rish rabbies but i rubbed a tonne of alcohol sterile spray and wipes over it just in case, fingers crossed). Also whilst at The Hutongs we had dinner/ tea at a restaurant (this was before I saw all the animals!) I had Rabbit! Rabbit wasn't bad. There was a lot of bones and little flavour, only the heat of the pao peppers it was cooked with. I'd have it again, if there were no bones, and only in Chna. They had a vendor selling scorpions and cochroaches that had been deep fried - I gave these a miss.

We tried to visit the drum and bell towers while there and they were closed (a recurring theme) but we went in a pottery art gallery and got a free tour of how they were made and how they came to be from its origins from the 4 dynasties. The tour guide was hoping to get a sale, but he said it was his hobby. He was somewhat interesting by what he was saying, but i've heard  most of it before, about English pottery making, almost identical, but they have many 'blue delft' which they call 'blue and white enamel' - links to the Netherlands here?! He was shocked when I compared them. Afterwards we spent time in the village centre, like a green to us, but it was paved and had no seats etc. people sat on curbs, played badminton, happy sack, football and like Jacks with 'Pogo' (name of brand) counters.

The sellers in The Hutongs knew the value of currency as well! A man tried selling us all the bags he had for £10 he said and we said 10yuan and he laughed and said no 100yuan is £10, lol. We didn't buy off him we were shopped out. I made umpteen new Chinese friends in The Hutongs by the way. I haggled so well in Chinese Mandarin and made smiley faces and gestures at them that made them laugh and agree with most my prices or as near to as possible. A lovely religious lady who was Christian was one who asked me about my religion. I said I was a Christian as I am and she showed me all her pictures of her in England, singing in the choir at church and her copies of the bible. She gave me a 'free; Jade crucifix on a necklace and said "halleluhia" and then asked did I have a bible. I had to say yes as she was offering me one too, but I only have a new testament, I'd love a bible but she looked like she needed to sell things rather than give for free, bless her, she was so lovely. She even gave Nicky and Angela one as she gave me one, what she must have lost out on from sales by not selling them!

Majority wise the Chinese are very kind hearted and try their best to communicate in english or make me grasp the basics of what they are saying in Mandarin. I'd love to live here, but I still see myself in Holland one day :-). Either there or in Vancouver, Canada, but i've never actually been there yet, I'm basing it on pictures and what i've seen in flims and on TV etc.

I have now been in China for 2 weeks!!!!

Home soon,




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Study China Programme 2011

Beijing, China