Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beijing bicycles

Busy week! My time is starting to fill up with interviews and early preparation for the next phase of my research (two months or so in southwestern China, exact locations TBD), and I'm hoping to make the rather long trek to the National Library at least two times this week to frantically photocopy some resources I've found so that I can use them when I'm back in the States. I'm also hoping to check out to the National Archives, although I'm not sure how useful its resources will be for me. So not much time for noodles or blogging. In lieu of a noodle post, here are some photos I took last week.

Incidentally, it just took me a minute or two to figure out that lieu is neither liu (刘) nor lu (路). I worry at times that China does terrible things to my command of my native tongue.

Cars are beginning to rule the roads, at least in Beijing--I'm constantly infuriated by the way car ownership entitles drivers to ignore traffic laws, pedestrians, etc.--and especially so when the car in question is a luxury brand! Although, to be fair, traffic seems less chaotic than it did a couple of years ago when the private car ownership boom was really beginning to take off here.

Nonetheless, bicycles--both traditional and motorized ones--remain a fixture here, as do pedicabs, bicycle carts, etc. I'm always amazed by their variety, their occasional wackiness, and especially the ones that look like they've been around since 1949. Here are some examples. This one was one in a long row of bikes that were blown over on a windy day. There were even some shattered mirrors on the sidewalk from motorcycles that got blown over.

The photo doesn't do justice to the weirdly floral design of this bike:

And this one takes the prize for seniority and battered-ness:

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