Saturday, January 7, 2012

Drum Tower, Hutongs and Porcelain

  We're back in Beijing again!!!

The rickshaws pulled by a man are no longer in use, but they have ones pulled by a man on a bicycle, and  you can take tours around the old section of the city where the old homes are.

# 22 is ready to roll!
First stop on the tour was the Drum Tower.  Like in Xian the drum was beaten each hour and to announce sunset and sunrise and was the official time piece up until the last Emperor was disposed, and
western clocks became the norm. The drum tower has been on this site since 1272, although this
particular one has been here since1420. The Bell tower is not far away but we didn't go see it.

Getting geared up to climb those stairs.
There are 89 steep stairs to get to the top!!
I'm coming!!!
The original bell.  There are knife marks on the sides from the time of the Allied Forces taking over in 1900.
There used to be 24 drums in this building.

These are the new drums.  After the last Emperor left the Forbidden City the drums were silenced until 2002 when both the drum and bell was again heard in Beijing.

You can only walk around part of the outside walkway now because during  the 2008 Summer Olympics, one of the parents of an athlete was stabbed to death while visiting the drum tower.  The killer then
committed suicide by jumping off the 130 ft. high balcony.
Sun going down, although it could be smog!! There was lots of construction
going on in this older area as they are tearing down the old cramped quarters to build more high rises.
It was starting to get dark by the time we finished with the Tower.  The grey buildings below are the hutongs, or narrow alleys of the houses we were touring on the rickshaws.
Heading down.  Everyone was hanging on!!
Heading out to the houses.  Too bad it got so late and was dark.
This was the kitchen area and is separated from the rest of the house by a walkway.
They sure had a lot of knickknacks!
Look at the size of that dahlia!!
This place was obviously not one of the well off, but the poorer section.
  I like that table set.  I could use one of those in my yard.
There were many little enclosed walkways and alleys.
At first glance l thought this was a chamber pot and then realized it was a fish bowl!!  There are no bathrooms in these places.  There was a communal bathroom on one of the street corners serving l don't know how many people.

The rickshaws were unique, but l could have used a step stool to climb up into it!!  There was a 
porcelain shop next door, so we stopped for a look.

If you are ever in need of a porcelain suit of armor l know just the place to get one!!
There are always interesting things to buy if you have deep pockets!!

No comments:

Post a Comment