Not the first time I’ve run into a goose plodding placidly around a Beijing hutong… (At first glance […]

Last winter I took a beginner’s French course at the Alliance française Xihai (西海) campus. Xihai is a lovely, rather secluded little lakeside area in Beijing, with lots of weeping willows and people (mostly elderly) fishing, playing chess, strolling about, bicycling and humming Peking opera strains, hanging laundry, and what-have-you. It’s not terribly well known, even among locals.

I’d never seen such extended fishing-poles before, but these seem to be the norm for Xihai-ers… then again I’m also completely fishing-illiterate.

A Xihai-er sunbathing while keeping some vegetables company





“嘿—— 这样啊。那行吧…… 你想咋拍咋拍”




边上坐着的老爷爷: “拍啥呢?那葱啊?”

“嗯……” [正在忙着对焦的我]


I’ve become even more intrigued by Beijing’s IKEA after learning from Yimei that the one she visits in Shanghai is quite different (i.e. much more orderly and conventional). I guess these scenes are perhaps truly unique to this city.

Hopefully the following snapshots give some idea of how Swedish marketing genius and Beijinger attitude have mixed to turn a multi-storey shopping complex into something that feels far more like a community centre/social hotspot/family lounge. It really is a fascinating, if somewhat overwhelming, place.

Allow me to take you on a short guided tour…

Here’s the common room for recreation:

Well, this works as a common room too:

Here’s a transit lounge/waiting area:

An awkward dinner party:

A romantic getaway for two:

在北京生活的乐趣之一, 就是打车碰到性格直率可爱的出租司机。 边坐着他们开的车, 边和他们有着不经意的短暂的轻松的逗人乐的对话。这些司机还往往很有’北京特色’, 大大咧咧乐乐呵呵,看很多事情都有独特的视觉。 今天打车去六里屯来着。 我上车说了想去哪, 师傅立即回了一句: “Oh了!” 还特响亮。 这个比 ‘OK’ 还要简短的说法, 是前两年学生流行说的话吧。(显然已经顺利地传播到其他社会群体。) 现在学生之间 ‘Oh my Lady […]