Beijing: 8th May 2014.
‘Rickshaw’ is a bit of a misnomer. Strictly speaking, it’s a two-wheeled carriage for two people, but hauled by a man, rather than a horse. They seem to be non-existent in China these days, having been replaced by the ‘trishaw’, which is propelled by pedal-power. Sometimes, they’re motorised, and are used for carrying bulky loads or entire extended families.
Through the narrow lanes we sped, passing small businesses, shops and houses. Many people were going about their business; some heavily laden, some just casually strolling. Occasionally, someone called out a greeting to the driver. Sometimes, we met a trishaw or other vehicle coming the other way, with the road restricted by a parked car or something. But, good humour and politeness always seemed to prevail … a far cry from the congested main roads of the city.
It was only a short visit to the hutongs, but gave us a taste of the place in the literal sense, as well as the metaphorical. When Wendy Wu Tours said they were going to show us the real China … they meant it!
The evening entertainment was the Myth Jinsha Acrobatic Show. Acrobatics, of course, culminating in a development of the Wall of Death. Instead of a cylindrical track, the rider rode his motor bike on the inside of a metal mesh ball. That was impressive enough, but when he was joined by THREE other motorcyclists … !!!
I wonder how many bikes they wrecked practising that routine?