The “real Beijing” — as our local friend Evelyn branded referring to the hutongs — is a complex of ancient passageways, alleys and courtyards and habitat to rickshaws, scooters and “real” people living the simple hutong life. This is Beijing to the grassroots level. The representation of Beijinger’s true character and unique identity. Sad thing is, although the area attracts more tourist just like the palaces and temples, hutongs are rapidly disappearing making way to the city’s raging urbanization.
The first time I heard about this walled residential district right in the heart of Beijing, I knew I had to get down here. Alone. Not that I despise tour buddies, but I don’t want somebody with me grumbling about the long walks or getting lost, which is a matter-of-fact and exactly the thrill here. (So hi CUFE friends, here’s the one thing you’ve missed!)