It is wrong to say everyone has a car in China right now, there is still a big gap to close. But obvious today it is not enough having a car for being individual anymore. Young people add some flavor to their wheels to achieve the showoff that you like when your are young.
After the lessons in culture and the stunning fotos from Matt it is time to show if you learned something at all. So here is a test for your level of car knowledge. If you can name all five cars you proof that you are an expert.
Measuring the scale of the city. First, second, third, fourth. We travel the infrastructural rings of Beijing and everything in between. Extra large and extra small. Stuck in traffic on multi lane highways and up close with the people in the hutongs. Old meets new, small meets big. Landmark architecture over here, a collective call over there. Together for a happy China, for a better society, let's develop. At least that is what the colorful bill boards try to tell us.
The new China it is somewhere in between. The question is if you can scale up tradition. The new is now and so we end up in a freshly painted artificial hutong, south of the Forbidden City. The big tree is made out of plastic and the tram is a cardboard box on wheels. The original copy pasted, air conditioned , broader and better. Somehow it feels like Disney World, a polished dream.
Outbound looking for a sideboard. It is a long ride with the underground and train until we reach the outskirts of Beijing. One can travel so far on a single ticket with the standard price of two RBM. The landscape changes, but still, many high rise buildings are draped along the horizon. An industry zone with a dominating power plant connected to the big city by a salad of wiring.
This is Furniture City, a kind of outlet where you can find all you need for better living. This is not your usual sunday afternoon boulevard. It is more like stepping into a work shop, knee deep in wood chips. A place where work and living blends together, well maybe it is the same thing here.
Long dark shops full of cabinets. Hidden in the corners behind them employees wait for customers while little kids play under the table. Exotic woods from all over Asia, ceramics in many shapes. The perfect spot for film makers who need to decorate their sets, or designers who want to feel at home in their new "heimat". Of course everything will be delivered the same day.
Bright colors and smokey alleys. Life style on the streets. A village in transition. On the other side of the ultra green river the new China rises up. I wonder what this place will look like in a couple of years from now. It might be exactly the same as your local, global furniture boulevard.