The morning comes to the suburbs first,
where amidst the deciduous trees of Fragrant Hill, birds
sing their morning call individually, then in chorus. The
leaves rustle with a brisk wind, and the invisible touch of
sunrise spreads in spectrums, coloring the mountains.
A rooster runs in the empty dirt road.
His song pierces the village. Itís a new day.
The people are up. From open windows,
fried dough crackles and the delicious smell of fresh pork
buns drifts out into the streets.
Little Pekingese dogs run out of doors,
chasing the rooster, looking up at birds.
Beijing, itís a new day.
Downtown, subways begin their daily grind
as a wave of people professionally dressed inundate through
the doors. Above ground, people, more people, more people
flood the streets. The road moves. Colors blur. The sun
In the heat of a Beijing summer, cars in
traffic become shining gems, glistening in their colors,
blinding in the rays. Blaring loud honks nonstop back and
forth. Cacophony in waves.
And in the streets, the real streets
where the pagodas and the hutong homes of old Peking comes
alive, there are old men chess players out in the shade.
Hunched shirtless, bamboo fan in hand, round Chinese chess
pieces twisting in fingers, they silently fight a mental
Wheels. Wheels of cars, but mostly of
bicycles zoom past, dizzying in their speed, their
frequency. Children, adults, men, women, all on bikes. Some
hitching a ride on anotherís back. Others with a basket of
groceries in front.
Street vendors calling out in sing-song
voices. Yams, red hot yams only five yuan a piece!
The grill of lamb chuars, or the Chinese
kebobs, sizzles. Ashes of fire fly out as the vendor fans
out the flames.
Sitting on the ground is a
bracelet-maker. Scattered around him, colorful beads and
strings. He weaves with dexterity, a crowd around him.
Evening. Beijing comes alive. Almost
simultaneously, colored lights line the trees, buildings,
Music pounds from random shops, outside
stereos, KTV rooms. The young and the restless come out to
play. Sidewalk dumpling shops and indoors pool. Guys playing
basketball under lurid lights. Couples and families
strolling in a neighborhood park. From restaurant windows,
people laughing, having a good time.
In the suburbs, time is still. An
occasional motorcycle, but mostly empty streets. Families
sitting out on the porch, eating boiled peanuts in the dark.
Night, sleeping to the sound of crickets
chirping through an open window.