March 16, 2016
Time for our third ride on a Chinese airline. We are getting to be old hands on using these mostly empty facilities. No complaint. It is just strange. We flew from Xi’an in the west around 1000 km to Beijing. The smog is hideous but we are OK. Drove on buses to and from airports twice today. The fun part was the rickshaw which was drawn by a bicycle.
I was a little uncomfortable but our driver could smoke, talk on his cell phone and pedal at the same time. He was not running around in sandals and a coolie hat. Using this conveyance we took a tour of the old Hutong neighborhood. These run down ancient houses mostly lack indoor plumbing but are some the best located houses in Beijing. We visited the courtyard house of a Chinese Johnny Cash with our group. The place was two years old and looked the part. It was festooned with several lifetimes of knick knacks, his wedding photo and family bed. It was bizarre and interesting at the same time. Our guide for the day said that the home could sell for 10 million US if the family wanted to move. Strange.
We went to a tea service in a four hundred year old Bell Tower that was last remodeled in the Ming Dynasty but was built during the Mongol era. We also visited a neighborhood toilet that was rated as a one star facility. It did not get that high of a rating from our women on the tour. It probably was not much different in Mongol times.
We had a well done dinner and returned to our exquisite hotel that lacks working AC. Funny how you get better climate control at Motel 6.
I am going to upload some pictures so I post this in the morning before we head to the Great Wall.