Category Archives: Beijing 2008

Wedding Day!

So our Lincoln Wedding was slightly overshadowed by our Beijing one… A beautiful church, a beautiful bride… too bad the groom was kind of a geek!

We were married in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, by a priest, in front of family and friends:

My friend Sean, who attended our reception in Feburary, likes this photo best:

We leave Beijing tomorrow, spend some of the day in San Francisco, then get back to the Great State of South Dakota.

Bon voyage!

An Interesting Day

We brought Mother and Sister of tdaxp to Beijing’s Terminal 3, seeing them off safely in an airport far more comfortable and hospitable than in any major city in America. Later, learned to play Mahjong with what I assume are “Hong Kong Rules.”

During the day, saw one of the “tricycle men” — those people whose job it is to carry very heavy loads on their three-wheeled peddle-powered vehicles. Over my trips to Beijing I associated this occupation in particular with the very visible class divide in China. He was listening to his MP3 player.

The Roads of Peking

It was 5 o’clock, and we were on the 2nd ring road.

The Second Ring is built along what was the Tatar City Wall, which under the Great Qing separated the Han outside the Tatar City from the anybody-but-Han inside. Apartheid ended in the early 20th century with the establishment of the Chinese Republic (the de facto capital of which is now Taipei), over the next few decades the gates of the wall were used at first more, later on less, and when the Communists took over, the wall was destroyed, to create the Second Ring.

The current rulers of China, preferring to downplay the race-war component of the last few centuries of domestic politics, prefers to call the Tatar City Wall the “Ming City Wall,” and leave it at that.

I thought of this as we crawled along at rush hour, on one of the busiest streets on the planet. As the cab’s manual transmission began to fail, I imagined what it would be like to walk down the 2nd ring towards the safety of the sidewalk.

Exhilerating, it turns out.

Fortunately, the walk wasn’t long, and we walked (after paying for the mileage and time of the taxi driver) in a concrete divider that seperated the ring road proper from one of its parrallel spurs. As we approached the sidewalk island, I said “We need to cross the bridge into the Tatar City,” like a character in Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

Doing so and walking one block inwards immediately opened up a new world. Instead of bumper-to-bumper traffic, we were in a community where school children and old men walked along a wide, empty street.

It so quiet that a couple was having dinner in the middle of the road! In Beijing! At rush hour!

The feeling of a tight neighborhood was everywhere. But the Tatars will have their revenge on this community of Han in their old city. The hutongs in it were being torn down, to make way for newer and better development.

An amazing end to a very productive day.