Hutong

I moved out of my hutong guest house today, traveling across town to the Olympic Village, where I’ll be living and working for the next two weeks.

I’ll miss my hutong, where I could get breakfast baos for $1 RMB each — about 15 cents. I was also a five-minute walk from Gui Jie (Ghost Street), a street lined with restaurants. I had some of the best steamed dumplings of my life. They were so good I went for dinner at the restaurant two consecutive nights.

I’ll miss the daily routines of the hutong, the half-naked children running around unsupervised, the men playing chess at night, the domestic arguments that echoed off the walls, the hole-in-wall shops that fixed everything from TVs to bikes, the local version of 7-11 that sold nothing but beer and cigarettes, the restaurant that cooked a full meal for $15 RMB.

The only thing I won’t miss is the smell, especially at night, when trash piled up or was strewn about. Street cleaners in Beijing have a thankless job.

I’m now stationed at the NBC hotel and work area. Updates may be a little more spotty now that the Olympics have kicked into high gear. I’ll be writing constantly for msnbc.com and nbcsports.com, so check out those sites when you have a chance. I’ll try to post the links to published stories here as well.

Ironically, I have to pay for internet access in my hotel room (I had free, mostly reliable internet at the guest house). Also, I’ve been having trouble uploading pictures using the internet at my work station. So it might be a while until I update my Flickr feed. Perhaps I’ll hit up a internet cafe on a day off — if I ever get one.

It’s been a long day, so I’m heading to my new room, where $35 RMB bottles of water await me.

Advertisements