Labor day in Beijing

In Sweden I usually demonstrate on labor day, but that’s obviously not an option in China. Instead we went to Houhai, a lake area north of the Forbidden City. I accidentally stumbled upon this big thing:

It’s the Bell Tower and is actually a tourist attraction, but I didn’t feel very attracted to it. There are a lot of Hutongs in the area – Hutong is what the old narrow streets in Beijing are called. More and more of them are destroyed to make room for the modern life, which is a pity in some cases. However, many of them are actually really shoddy. Would you want to live here?

Soon we arrived at Houhai. This area is very un-Chinese with reagge cafes, bars and the like. Nonetheless, walking around the lakes (Houhai is just one of several) is pretty nice.

Feeling kind of bored, we went to Wangfujing to watch a movie. If you get a chance to see Shanghai Red, do pass. It’s unoriginal, slightly pretentious and has corny dialogue, mostly in English (it’s a Sino-American production, I found out too late). Enough about that. I found a huge DVD shop and wandered around for a long time. I was kind of surprised to find Devils on the Doorstep, which I wrote yesterday has never been shown publicly in China. Finally, I bought Mongolian Ping Pong, by the director of the popular hit Crazy Stone.

In all, a great day for the international labor movement (and the international film industry). Last but not least, a warning from the kitchen of BLCU’s dorms:

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