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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

From dawn to dusk, Beijing my love


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 shines.

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 battle.

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, restaurants, shops.

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. Streetlamps glow.

Night, sleeping to the sound of crickets chirping through an open window.

Alice Yang is a student at Columbia University.
She can be reached at gy2151@ Columbia.edu.

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   Last Update:  August 29, 2007