Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cabbing it old style.


B
eijing is a thoroughly modern city. Although bicylces are still a very popular form of getting about town, town is so spread out that it's easier to get from point A to point B by car, bus or subway. But many of the hutongs are too narrow to accomodate for even the smallest of cars so in these neighborhoods, bicycles are still the preferred form of transport.



After Ekco and I visited the hutong home, it was time to head to Houhai Park to visit another very famous hutong home. We could have walked but in the sweltering heat of Beijing, I would have melted long before we would have arrived. No, we had to go on wheels and pedicab, otherwise known as the rickshaw, was going to be my vehicle of choice.

We headed out back to the main road and found a stand of available pedicabs. A quick conversation between Ekco and the driver and we were off.




 Our driver took us back down a narrow hutong where there was quite a bit of construction, of both new homes and what looked to renovation of existing homes, going on.

Luckily, we had an experienced driver who could navigate around construction debris strewn on the roads as well navigate around the occasional truck.

It was very enjoyable ride and the driver pedalled with ease.


If it had been me having to haul two people around, I would have been huffing and puffing after a few minutes. I cannot imagine that this is an easy way to make a living. But he seemed to be enjoying his time with us. He and Ekco chatted for much of the ride. I was enjoying the scenery that was passing before my eyes.
We rode through the neighborhood. At one point, the hutong was so narrow, that I could reach out and pluck a leaf from a vine that was growing outside one of the homes.

 The pedicab created a draft of warm, humid air as we move forward....a wee bit of *breeze*.


























Before I knew it, we had arrived at our destination. Ekco paid the driver and I said my thanks. As I watched the driver pedal away, all I could think of was someday pedicabs will just be a memory for the Beijingese but they probably won't disappear entirely as long as there are people like me who still enjoy the experience.