No change actually, at Fu Xue

During my quick visit to the Fu Xue Market this morning, I noticed that the shops are indeed putting their items outside the again.

 

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Did you know that in China, cats lay eggs? :)

 

Kisse katt.

 

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Yellows, reds and a white living peacefully together.

 

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Corn

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This was my favorite shop. To them I had my loyalty and felt guilty if I would ever out of convenience buy from someone else.  The whole front part there was always covered in veggies, and the woman would be cooking inside the doors to the right. Jing Jing was always welcome to sniff whatever she liked. But they have not yet opened after the cops showed up last week. What happened?

 

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The hutongs are being rebuilt everywhere, so these days this is very normal sight. Cute, arent they?

 

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So yes, I am biting my nails again.

 

 

 

 

Clearing up Fu Xue

Shop with umbrellas and goods outside, is packing it in.

Fu Xue Hutong

It was 10 clock in the morning, and I was there to get my dogs breakfast. When I asked the woman in the shop selling me dog food, she smiled with her lunch box in hand and chopsticks in her mouth. Then told me that starting today; they can no longer keep their products outside of the stores. Every single item needs to be inside, because they want this street to be an easy passage rather than a crowded slow market.

In general this is a non-issue issue, but the problem is that the shop owners wont have enough floor space for their assortment now. When stocking up on goods they were counting on space that now isn’t available. The first meter outside the shop was used as part of the store for years and years, not just here, but everywhere in Beijing, in China. That is just how things are done and business run. With this way of doing things, the floor space inside functions as storage when they are closed for the night. So now, when everything needs to move in, they have too much stuff to display neatly. Everything ends up on top of each other. The street is now nice and empty, but the stores are chaotic. For now at least, I’m sure they will figure it.

Headcount on the cops gave me at least 12. They all seemed calm, even happy when basking in the sun. Not all of them needed to be telling people what to do at all times, so I guess the number of them is just a visual key to the shop owners that this is serious business. Most of them was just standing around. Kind of like in Sweden when communal workers are getting anything done. 7 guys will arrive. 1 will be digging, 1 will be in the big machine moving rocks around and the rest will be commentators with cigarettes in hand. So Sweden and China aint all that different.

Got some pictures from there because I visit this market a lot and today was a historical thing, I felt. Kind of like that one time last year when it was covered in snow. This morning I didn’t have my camera when the shops I am familiar with were moving things inside, and when I got back with my camera the cops had moved on to another of the street. I managed to capture the results, not the process. At the other area I didn’t get close because I decided to leave as soon as I heard the policemen poking each other about the foreigner taking pictures. That was que to split.

Rebuilding Bao Chao Hutong

Baochao Hutong

Baochao Hutong is one of the hutong alleys on Gulou Dong Da Jie, the big street leading up to Drum and Bell tower. Gu means drum, Lou means tower. Baochao is a hella busy street full of people and shops. A lot of small shops for the locals, selling vegetables, window repair, all-around-fix-your-house-up shops sellings sinks and what not. there is also restaurants, hairdressers, jewelry stores, shoe and clothes.

Baochao Hutong

Foreigners come here for noodles and dumplings at Mr.Shi’s, burgers at Serbia Burger or drinks at Modernista. Modernista is a very popular French owned barm, famous for there events and weekly Drink and Draw on Tuesdays. They are constantly supporting local artists with exhibitions, even me once through Scratching Beijing.


Semi related side story: More importantly, my favorite store/coffeeshop/systembolag/bar is there. A magical place called Wine Dance Supermarket. I go there to buy my Japanese eggs, gluten free pasta, fancy granola, Argan schampoo, tomatoes that are actually red and have taste (at the market you only get vampire tomatoes. They are really pale and makes you wonder whats wrong.), sour cream, avocadoes, deodorants etc. Recently I also started going there for a quick fix of coffee as well. Their Cappuchino’s always contain double espresso shots, and cost 15 RMB. No other place gets you a nice hot tasty strong coffee with cinnamon on top for that money. Plus you can buy a whole bag of your favorite cookies for normal supermarket price to go with it, instead of putting 30RMB on 1 piece of cheesecake. Winedance is now joining in on the rebuilding wave, so they are adding a second room to their shop. Planning to maybe start making sandwiches and put tables inside. Now they have tables outside, or they can pull up a chair for you if you rather stay in there. About a month ago they introduced Chinese organic eggs from rural China. A brand called Ben Dan, which is hilarious, because “ben dan” literally means stupid egg. It is an insult you would use to someone who is an idiot. Once I heard a women shouting that at her dog who wasn’t moving out of the way properly when cars were coming.

However, Baochao is being rebuilt. It is one out of several methods the government is using to reduce the Beijing population. They want it down by 15% in 4 years. This is why people started getting kicked out of their hutongs recently, and apartments. Whats is happening on baochao is the samething. The goal there is to make it more of a commercial street. They don’t want it to be packed with people just dwelling around, living inside of the shop they are working at. They want each shop there to be a shop only. But its is very common for people to move in to Beijing from the countryside, renting a small space from where they sell cigarettes, alcohol and a few other things people buy often. Then keep a bed behind the cashier for the whole family of 3. Soon this will be a thing of the past.

Baochao Hutong

Baochao Hutong

Baochao Hutong

Hutong life

The hutong roof is more of a floor for the hutong cat, rather than a roof for the hutong human. These cats have have clear territories, the cats are big and really G looking in general. Basically, it is cruel to let a kitten lose outside all on its own. Because that kitten is gonna get eaten. However, the roof of a hutong is beautiful. Old or new, still gorgeous. And these images I shot from my friend Ethans terrace, east of Jing Shan park. He lives in a traditional hutong courtyard, with a big tree in the middle surrounded by houses. The open space is shared and respectfully looked after by all families living there inside of the same red gate.

2 old ladies came back from the market while I was outside shooting a pie. They handed Ethan fresh vegetables that had been pulled out of the soil that very morning. You could smell it. You could see it and feel it. Then they planted some chives by the big tree in the middle and told Ethan, that he can go snatch some whenever he pleases.

Last weekend he gave her the big late of cured salmon we shot last, and I guess that fish made him a friend.

From the very begining of this project, the neigbours 4 year old son took interest in us, and he became our friend. Frank and I spent time a lot of time in the courtyard reading his English book about robots while Ethan was killing a lobster, braising som meat or chopping onions. It was so great to have an enthusiastic boy babbling Chinese to me and wanting me to pay him attention, read for him, teach him English and you know, just, hang out. I loved every bit of it. Such a sweet boy, and full of energy and ideas. Creative one for sure.

Being a Chinese child is not the same as being a Canadian or Swedish child. As a 4 year old in Sweden you go out and play with your buddies until your mom shouts through out the door that it is time for dinner. If you cant hear your own mom, you can hear somebody elses. It kind of works like in the old days when people would light a fire to warn for attacks. That fire lights another fire further away, and eventually the village is told. Just like one mom shouting makes another mom shout. Eventually, the kids are told. In Beijing, your friends are all studying or learning something. Most likely piano or extra curriculum math. And there is no playground. You have yourself, and your parents, and most likely no sibling. So naturally, Frank was drawn to us, because he had nothing to do. Grandma was busy cooking and the other folks around were so worried Frank was bothering us. They kept pulling him away and excusing him. Took a long time before we could convince them to just leave him be, because we are happy to have him around.

Franks mother kindly gave us abottle of rum at the end of the first weekend, as a thank you for being so good to her boy. Franks “popo”, meaning his fathers mother, came out one evening with a plate full of steaming dumplings for us.

The life in the hutongs, is really something. The connections you have with the families around you in a courtyard, is beautiful. The sense of community is really comforting.

If I ever need to live alone, I would love to have a community like that to rely on.

Hutong rooftop by Jingshan Park Hutong rooftop by Jingshan Park Hutong rooftop by Jingshan Park