100s of Photos Documenting a 6-week tour of
Malaysia ~ Singapore ~ Thailand ~ China
Section II: China
Photos by Bill and Sue-On
Captions by Sue-On (expanded from our FaceBook pages)
Gallery 8:
ShiChaHai Hutong and Lama Temple, Beijing
Traditional homes and temples
Hutongs are a type of narrow streets and alleys 
formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences of the past.
A hutong complex is formed by four houses 
around a quadrangular courtyard. 
Many of these have been cleared 
to make way for new buildings. 
The hutong our tour took us to is in Shi Cha Hai, 
located in the western part of Old Beijing. 
The area was once an important commercial hub.
Our tour guide Joseph took us to "rickshaw central".
This is the best way to see life in the hutong.
The rickshaws are totally man-powered.
Not quite as they were in the old days 
where the man runs and pulls the rickshaw! 
Still, these men must have strong legs for pedaling.
We're ready!
The canopy was good 
as it was a hot 34 degrees 
and sunny.
Hong Kong 1945
From the CPO Jerry Hillman / HMCS Prince Robert
Tribute Site and the Hillman photo archive
Joseph turned us over to this capable pedaler. 
He's wiry and strong!
These men all know their routes well, 
and they know how to avoid collisions...
VERY important!
We also had Mr. Lee,
who is the actual guide for this part of the tour. 
He rode his bicycle ahead 
to the starting point of the tour 
and was waiting there when we arrived.
Even though the hutong shows 
the "good old days" type of residential life, 
there's no holding back on modern acquisitions 
that show wealth.
I'm not sure if these were original buildings 
that have been renovated 
or new ones built to traditional specifications. 
If the latter, we were happy 
to see they fit in with the originals.
As in the past when this area was a commercial hub, 
it is still today because of the tourist trade. 
There are many restaurants, bars, shops. 
The streets are usually packed with young people 
who frequent the well-known night spots.
I am standing on the Yingding Bridge.
Shi Cha Hai is in an area of three connected lakes 
that were surrounded by 10 temples. 
The name Shi Cha Hai means 
"ten temple lakes"
Yingding Bridge 
(Silver Ingot Bridge -
because it resembles the ingot of old) 
is 1000 years old. 
It bridges the channel that connects two of the lakes: 
Qianhai Lake and Houhai Lake.
I think a boat ride 
would have been much more romantic 
in the old days 
without the tourists;-)
Every available space is utilized 
to keep the tourists happy, 
such as this three-story eatery and bar.
There are places for quiet moments. 
Weeping willows are such
a lovely part of scenery in China.
Mr. Lee explains some of the history of this canal, 
which was once part of the Grand Canal 
of the Yuan Dynasty 600 years ago.
Local residents and tourists 
all mingle without mishap ;-)
One DOES have to watch for vehicles. 
Jump when you hear Beep Beep!  or Ding Ding! 
The roads are narrow, definitely not made for cars, 
but they do try ;-)
Mr. Lee strides ahead
to the next important site;-)
Bill and I hurry along as quickly as we can, 
but we are often distracted by ... everything!
Sometimes, it is hard to 
manoeuver around the crowds.
This plaque gives some history on 
Yan Dai Way - "pipe alley". 
It is only 232 meters long. 
Some say it is so named because of
the many smoking pipe stores. 
Others say it is because the street is 
shaped like a smoking pipe. 
Now, it is lined with souvenir shops.
One of the inner alleys 
that connects several courtyards.
This is a typical door way to a residence / courtyard. 
The doors are usually painted black,
but the gov't "issued" red paint for the Olympics. 
At the bottom of the doorway is the threshold, 
about 12" - to guard against evil spirits 
as they cannot bend their knees!
Mr. Lee explains that
the gov't orders and pays for 
all exterior repairs 
while the residents pay for interior work.
Even tho' the homes are very old, 
they have many modern day conveniences. 
Need power, anyone?
As part of our tour, 
we visited Mrs. Wong's home. 
She shares this hutong with 
several members of her extended family.
On this wall are the communal dining room and kitchen. 
Tourists can book this for a meal cooked by the homeowners.
One group did that and was listening to their guide 
describing life in the hutong. 
Bill is standing by one of the 7 bedrooms. 
Mention bedroom and his eyes grew kinda drowsy ;-) 
The barrels collect rain water for the plants. 
The homes are serviced by the city water system.
The interior of one of the bedrooms. 
A TV in every room!
The utility room
Gardening 101


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Bill and Sue-On Hillman Eclectic Studio
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada