Water Hutong

Nicholas Quirke was something of an expert now of significant sites in Beijing to visit and when Peng’s father alerted him to an unusual and historic Hutong on 23 March 2021 that had been hidden from view since he had been here and was now open and free to walk through he was swift to add it to the cannon of his personal burgeoning historic Beijing travel guide. Firstly he had to register at the police station and he used the opportunity of being out to get some ginger from RiRi supermarket for his morning smoothie, He was the first person to arrive at the station and the police, now familiar with him waved him quickly through. The systems though were down and they asked him to come back later on. He went back home and did some work before going to explore Xianykoujie Hutong which was built around a system of overflows from the Sanli river. It took him a while to find the streets as his map reference directed him to the streets east of Beijing Fun which he had been to before but not paid much heed to as most had been closed. The streets were fascinating and when he finally found the actual location he was entranced. Spring was making itself felt with buds and blossom exploding on the trees and blue skies heralding the new season. Because of the small canals the Hutong felt much more open and rural than the cramped small streets of Beijing’s usual ancient residences and this was accentuated by a sighting of chickens. A party of school children were touring the district and engaging with the locals and many local workers were enjoying the day and the warm temperature. It was another teaching day and as he was halfway there he cycled to Galaxy mall through some unknown streets to sip tea and work before his ‘reading’ class. The mall was being given a spring clean and he was impressed to see a small battalion of workers looking like ants suspended from ropes and cleaning the immense four domed structure. He had tea at The Little Nap Cafe and found a small alcove free to hide himself in. The class with 5 students went well and in high spirits and having closed all the fitness rings on his watch app took the subway home and indulged in phone games.He had started the day with a smoothie and two slices of sourdough smothered with raw peanut butter and other than a bag of nuts with afternoon tea that was all he had eaten. He had a rule that mostly he would not eat after 6pm and he decided after all the recent cake eating that he would avoid consuming anything else that day. he felt hungry as they watched the simple but charming animation ‘Wish Dragon’, a Chinese variation of ‘Aladdin. The day’s activity and the easy visual fare prepared him well for a long deep sleep.

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