The Hu Tong Neighborhood

Tour Day Five: Wednesday, April 25, 2001

A Visit To A Family Home

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This courtyard had new pavement.
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Our Hostess and Guide.

Pictures above and below were taken as we entered our hostess' home. The courtyard is shared by our host and three neighbors. Our friendly hostess answered our questions through our guide-interpreter. The home like most others had a television, refrigerator, and washing machine. Evidenced by a book on the shelf, our hosts had traveled to Washington state in the US.

Our hosts were retired and kept their grandson while his parents worked. The two families did not live together. The host families are paid a stipend by the government to allow tourists visit in their homes.

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In addition to a fair sized living room that seated our whole tour group of twenty or so, this four-hundred-year-old house had a bedroom, kitchen, and bath. The kitchen and bath was no more than six feet wide. The kitchen was a fairly long corridor, with a sink and window at one end. There was a small stove. All we saw of the bath was the Eastern-style toilet, a porcelain fixture that toped out at floor level. These were what we were usually confronted with in the public restrooms where we stopped for sightseeing.

In this house, the kitchen size and equimpent tell us a lot about why Chinese restaurants are so successful. I suspect this house was larger and better equipped than many in the older neighborhoods. In the cities, the younger people live in hi-rise apartment buildings. Most have air conditioning units for each apartment on the sides of the buildings.

One lady on our tour had lived in Beijing for five years. She was on the tour to accompany a friend visiting from her homeland of Sweden. She said that the Hu Tong neighborhood had obviously been cleaned up for the tourists. It didn't look like some of the other neighborhoods she had visited. The streets were wider and straighter than many she had seen.

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Page last updated June 5, 2001.