Drivers of the Hutong Rickshaw

| October 9, 2010
Hutong rickshaw driver eager to serve his next customer

Hutong rickshaw driver eager to serve his next customer

As part of our tour of Beijing, we took a rickshaw ride through the hutong district in central Beijing. Hutongs, which are commonly associated with Beijing, are alleys lined with traditional courtyard residences.Many neighborhoods were formed by joining one residence to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they were demolished to make way for new roads and buildings.Recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this important aspect of Chinese cultural history. For this post, I thought I would focus on the drivers of the rickshaw pedicabs that escort tourists and local folks through the hutong alleyways.

Another maybe not so eager.

Another maybe not so eager.

This is really the most efficient way to see the hutong district. The streets are very narrow so it prevens you from having to dodge the rickshaws as you navigate the neighborhoods. After paying a fee at a stand near the entrance to the neighborhood, the driver will take you to destinations of your choosing. Once your journey is over, a 30 Yuan tip is greatly appreciated. I have some pictures of a courtyard residence that I will share in a later post.

A couple of nice Chinese ladies getting on their way

A couple of nice Chinese ladies getting on their way

The week we were in Beijing, the Autumn Moon Festival was in full swing. That means all of China was off work and taking in the sights just like we were. It was very busy but I liked the fact that we were able to experience seeing the Chinese people celebrating an important national holiday. Since the holiday brought Chinese people from all over, it was apparent that some had not seen foreigners before. Donna, who is 5 feet 8 and blond, was as much of an attraction as the Forbidden City. She received quite a few stares and had many requests to have her picture taken. “Excuse me but may I take a picture with this lady?” one man asked me while we were hiking the Great Wall. Of course I said sure, and then asked Donna if it was OK. She said yes so I snapped a picture of them as they both gave the peace sign just as the camera clicked. How cool is that?

Rickshaw drivers of Beijing's hutong district

Rickshaw drivers of Beijing’s hutong district

Look for more shots later of our experience in the hutong district. I have pictures of a typical hutong home, interesting shops and even a paddle boat traffic jam!

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Category: Photography, Travel