Mittwoch, 7. Dezember 2011

7 Beijing. Visiting a satellite city

Beijing is not hilly, but is situated like on a plate. If you look from the corresponding point of view to the north, the mountain ridges are clearly visible, which extend to southern Mongolia. When I was once in Beijing, certainly not the last time, so it was natural for me to visit a neighboring satellite city. These are distributed concentrically around the capital. The closest to me is located right in the north and is connected by underground U5. Its final staion is Tiantongyuan North. Starting from my home I walked there with detours.
One last look out of the window, where a U5 goes straight towards the town, taking my backpack and going along the road for new discoveries in an exciting world.
First, along the street canyons, where the Chinese life pulsates.
The two photos above, this is China, modernity (Banking) and superlatives in addition to a traditional vehicle of transportation.
I crossed the northern part of the Olympic Park. In May, the most beautiful time of spring, I was happy there in order to sit under shady trees on a bench. In the hands  a Chinese textbook. On the street next to the park I saw a truck passing slowly with a very practical device, used for irrigation of street trees. The device is a rotor, that atomized water over the trees.
One day I was sitting on a park bench again and opened my book. Sure, it falls on you as a foreigner. Passing Chinese might be slightly irritated at the thought that the foreigners there just is reading a "Chinese" book.
So sat down on my bench an elderly man in order to converse with me. However, my Chinese was unfortunately only at the beginning and the mans English close to zero. It is simply a misconception to think that you can well communicate with English in Beijing. Even young people usually speak this language only in fragments. The new generation, more and more children of the middle class, is systematically promoted to learn English already in young years.
A few minutes later passed by, I must say, a pretty, young Chinese girl, looked at my book and began spontaneously a nice talk in relativly good English. It quickly became apparent that she was walking a lttle bit through the Olympic park for relaxing. After she had to go back at a nearby hospital where she worked as freshly baked medical doctor. I was told her studies at university lasted seven years. In the next few days, she wanted to start her first job in another city. She even helped me with the correct pronunciation of some Chinese words. I still remember well this pretty and clever Chinese woman. 
The Chinese hospitals have regular medical departments, as in Europe. But also an area that offers especially the traditional areas of Chinese medicine such as acupuncture.

Soon I passed a construction site. What is being built there, I don´t know. Maybe a building for sporting events or a convention hall. With the teleobjectiv I managed to get a detailed shot. It shows construction workers who wear a helmet and all are equipped with fairly new lifelines. This actually contradicts the assertions which can be seen from the German media about working conditions. These  construction workers live in air-conditioned living containers, as we find them also on European construction sites.

After seeing a small part of the satellite city, I went along a canal to the next suburb. It was very hot and the low-water channel seemed to be dirty. It smelled sometimes unpleasant. After a short rest I reached the first residential buildings.
In the photo above behind the massive high-voltage power lines are construction sites for new buildings. One of the most familiar images in and around Beijing. There is a huge demand for new housing by the arriving people. China's is a billion people, nearly 1.4 billion. Unimaginable for us and they also have the right to develop, to live better and better - as we do.
So, I think, it´s difficult to compare Europe thinking with the Chinese. As European one should be fair. It´s another dimension. They need a developement of careful steps to keep the society together. These hardworking people who can be proud of that will surely manage his future.    
I've been several times in this satellite town and could not detect any significant difference in the care of the population with food, restaurants and other businesses in comparison with Beijing. Here too, large supermarkets with excellent hygiene, where shopping made fun and would surprise some Germans with a regard  on their own ones.
The people who live here, work mostly in Beijing, return in the evening at home that seemed to me from the surface larger than those in Germany. But equipment and furniture are much more modest. I was allowed to look at some homes in the area. Sometimes the apartment entrances were solid steel doors. I found stair halls in a slightly dusty condition. The bathrooms were modest, but sufficient.
But compared to the lives of many people there a few years ago, China made a huge step forward. My great respect. Where will they be in a few years? That becomes interesting.

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