Sunday, May 22, 2005

outing to western Beijing

we went on a day trip to scenic spots on outskirts of Beijing. the weather was excellent and the sunshine and fresh air was an refreshing change to Beijing city life.

One of the spots we visited was an ancient hillside village that retained the architecture or late Ming and early Qing dynasty. The founders of the village were basically "shanghai-ed" from their native Shanxi to repopulate the devastated northern China! Although their present day descendents had turned entrepreneurs to attract domestic tourists and would be preserving the village for tourist dollars, I'm sure historians and architects would be aghast at the makeshift resoration or conservation by the locals using modern materials like concrete and bricks. but I guess it's either that or letting the village go the way of hutongs in Beijing, being bulldozed for progress.

The other attraction was Shuanglongxia. Part of the river was dammed up to provide water supply. But trails leading up the river gorge who bring visitors to many ponds and two waterfalls with poetic and fairyland names. typical of many Chinese tourist attractions, tacky "modern" buildings were erected and BBQ stands selling grilled fish marred the landscape. thankfully enough of the natural landscape remained...


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