Our time in China thus far has mostly taken us to very modern, sprawling, urban centers with wide roads, and shiny buildings. But today we found the cultural heart of Beijing just south of the Qian Men district. Here is where old ladies hang there clothes to dry, old men play checkers and smoke cigarettes on side streets, street vendors stroll up and down the alleys shouting the days special, shops spill out of their confined buildings into the street, and kids run up and down with made up toys. These are the pockets of culture I love and the ones I will undyingly search for!
Along our path today, we ran into Chong Lou (just guessing from the pronunciation). Up and down the streets he went with his bicycle cart trying to sell some very ripe, very red strawberries. Though he may get a little bit of business walking up and down these side alleys, he eventually sets up a more permanent stand on the slightly busier road that sees many passersby on there way to the various markets. Not understanding his language or his signs, I offered 10 yuan ($1.65) for some strawberries, but he shook his head. I asked again and he again shook his hand and refused my strawberries. He then thrust into his pocket and revealed to me the price at 25 yuan ($3.75). Im not sure how much that was for, but I just wanted to taste one. Eventually we agreed 1 yuan for one strawberry so I could taste his product. It was delicious!
I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the afternoon as we strolled these cultural streets meeting many of the locals and watching daily urban chinese life go by! Glad I finally found the cultural heart of Beijing!