Hutongs and the Silk Factory
6.27.12 - 6.27.12 86 °F
Another cloudy and smoggy day in Beijing, but we can see some sun. Today our first adventure is to the old Beijing Hutongs (narrow ancient alleys) which to westerners is a semi-slum, but is being protected by the state for it's historical significance. We took a pedicab ride around the district and then visited a lady's house to have some tea and ask her any questions. The was also a purchasing opportunity, as her niece was an exceptionally talented artist, featured in one of the Olympic magazines, who paints beautiful scenes inside of very small glassware. It was really impressive.
After this we headed off to a government silk rug factory, where we learned about how Chinese silk rugs are manufactured. It seems sort of touristy, and it is, but if you are into oriental rugs it was fascinating. There were silk on cotton rugs that were about 600 knots up to the fine artistic rugs that where 1800 knots and cost many thousands of dollars. I resisted the temptation to buy, although they were offering free shipping!
From there to the airport for a China East fight to Xi'an. Nothing remarkable except the security procedures to get into the secure area were much more strict than those in the USA. I had to empty out my entire camera bag and my collection of chargers and adapters before they would let me through.
We arrived in Xi'an and headed to the Westin Hotel for dinner and sleep before the Terracotta Warriors tomorrow.
As I am on the river at the moment, I will only add a few pictures since I am tethering with my cell phone.