A Doorway in Hutong, Beijing watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
The old streets and buildings in 'hutong' area of Beijing are architecturally distinct and very quaint. There are many ornate doorways with red lanterns that line the streets. These open into residential courtyards. The wall near this doorway also had a community notice board with many notices stuck on it.
According to wikipedia :Hutong (Chinese: 胡同) are a type of narrow street or alley commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, especially Beijing. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.
Since the mid-20th century, a large number of Beijing hutongs were demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, however, many hutongs have been designated as protected, in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. Hutongs were first established in the Yuan dynasty (1206–1341) and then expanded in the Ming (1368–1628) and Qing (1644–1908) dynasties.
Yogurt Bottles on A Utility Box Watercolor and Ink by Meera Rao
The life in the hutongs looks laid back with clothes drying by the street side, and bicycles resting against walls. Quiet residences are tucked between bustling small stores, temples and markets. I saw yogurts in small bottles being fermented and sold. The bottles covered with a bit of cloth and a straw sticking in it, were all lined up on a metal utility box.
Solar Powered Public Telephones watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
All through the city were these bright orange and yellow pods on about 5' poles that intrigued me. Finally on a evening walk I was able to see them up close and realized they were public telephones with solar panels on top.