Monday, 3 April 2017

Checking out Wudaoying Hutong

Cars sometimes pass through here, but mostly it's pedestrians
A friend who lives in Beijing recommended that I check out Wudaoying hutong near Yonghegong Lama Temple, as it hasn't been commercialized like Nanluoguxiang hutong.

I remember when Nanluoguxiang was just starting to have shops and it had rough edges to it that gave it some charm.

Does this cat look like he could be Brother Cream's cousin?
But now it's very gentrified, and as my friend says, there are the independent shops there, but there are also ones run by the government that you can tell are trying to push Chinese arts and culture in a Friendship Store 2.0 kind of way.

Having been there twice on my trip, I can attest to that!

So I checked out Wudaoying and I remember I did go there once many years ago to a western restaurant called Vineyard Cafe and it's still there. On the whole Wudaoying is still a residential area with shops down the main strip.

Some are clothing shops selling qipao or Chinese shirts and jackets, some with embroidery, jewellery shops, there are snack shops, mostly cafes, and several pottery shops that have several throwing wheels, where people take classes.
A not very happy looking mud grass horse at Plastered 8!

One of the pottery workshops had a giant fat cat with a bowtie, lazying on the table by the entrance and he could be Brother Cream's Beijing cousin!

A shop called Plastered 8 that opened in Nanluoguxiang also has a store here, and it has pretty funky T-shirts. The store front here includes a sculpture of a caonima, or "grass mud horse", which sounds like a swear word, but it is like giving the finger to internet censorship in China. I think we all feel like that!

On a happier note, we also saw a couple taking wedding photos there, probably the equivalent of Hong Kong couples taking pictures with the tram going by.

A sign indicating the entrance but we started from the back
On the whole it was fun to poke our heads into some of the shops and seeing what was going on. Some of the prices were expensive, some were OK. Although we didn't buy anything, we enjoyed soaking up the laid back atmosphere with a dose of crafts.

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