Monday, October 08, 2007

ZhongGuanCun (中关村)

I have been coming to Beijing once in a while since 1994 and every time it looks different. This time I am here for a conference and a visit to TsingHua University. After dinner this evening I went out for a walk, and this was the scene at the corner of 中关村東路 and 成府 at 6:30PM. This is right in the midst of the university district in the north-west of Beijing, and not far from the 五道口地鐵. Nearby are famous universities such as TsingHua and Beijing. There are also many language schools.

The crowd is mostly young, and many are smartly dressed. There are quite a few foreigners and English is spoken often. One gets the impression that many of them are students getting off work, or young professionals getting off work. And they look happy. The buses are crowded but orderly. There are also many brightly-coloured and new-ish taxis.

Walking the streets today, I feel optimistic for China. When so many young people are eagerly and happily studying, with good job prospects, the country should feel hopeful.

By the way, how do you cross the busy streets, where it seems impossible to predict where and when the traffic is coming and going? I have developed a method - I walk when the pretty young ladies with boyfriends walk, and I stay close to them until I get to the other side. I figure that (1) they are locals and know what they are doing, (2) females tend to be less reckless than males, (3) their boy friends are motivated to keep them alive. Pretty logical, right? So far, it seems to be working too.

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