A digression on the neighborhood

When the Rochester Oratorio Society landed in Beijing Sunday, singers were bused to the Ruicheng Hotel in an industrial-suburban about six miles west of the Forbidden City. Initially, I was deflated to be so far from the pretty stuff. I'd imagined daily jogs through the Imperial gardens. But now that we've had a chance to look around, I'm glad to be staying in a grittier part of town.

Half a block away runs a shallow, murky canal. Public parks line both sides, and Chinese gather in the morning for ping pong games, badminton, tai chi, and visits to the market. Old men hang caged birds in the trees. People smile and say hello.

Along the canal, small hovels spill garbage into the streets and dirty cats groom on rooftops. We smell rotten vegetables and raw sewage. In the distance looms the radio and TV tower, the tallest building in Beijing, which opened in 1990 for the Asian games. Old and new, small and great, fast and slow all co-exist in this ancient city, the center of the oldest continuous civilization on earth.

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Comments

China trip

Hi Brenda

I heard you announce on the radio about your blog from China and am so pleased to be able to read about all your adventures. It sounds like you are all having a great time. All of you, stay well, and enjoy. Please say Hi to Liz Furley for me.

Love

Bev Renolds

Awesome!

Brenda,
I am loving each dispatch. I liked this one especially.

"Old and new, small and great, fast and slow all co-exist in this ancient city, the center of the oldest continuous civilization on earth."

What a great line! You should be on the radio! Oh, wait....

-Andrew

Hi, Andrew

Thanks for the note. I'm going to try to carve out more time for writing. It's been busy the last few days, and I've had scarce time to write.