Jingshan and photos

Publié le par chrislzh


"BEIJING, Sept. 8 -- Pollution caused losses of 511.8 billion yuan (64 billion U.S. dollars) in 2004, which was 3.05 percent of the 16 trillion yuan (2 trillion U.S. dollars) gross domestic product (GDP) that year.

    Estimated pollution treatment costs the same year were 287.4 billion yuan (36 billion U.S. dollars), or 1.8 percent of the GDP, of which water contamination accounted for nearly 56 percent.

    These are among the findings in the world's first report on the impact of the environment on the economy, dubbed "Green GDP," released in Beijing yesterday.

    The report, which involved 41 areas of investigation, was jointly compiled by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

    However, the figures mark "only the beginning of our efforts in calculating Green GDP," said Pan Yue, vice-minister of SEPA."

That's just an introduction, it goes into more detail (but not much more detail; it is still a Xinhua article). But it's good to see an official start at calculating Green GDP. Incomplete as these figures may be, they are still a start and they give some idea of the impact of environmental damage on the economy.

And in other news: About 11:30 this morning I rode bus 726 down to Xinjiekou. I got some lunch (alright, alright, I'll admit I ate McDonalds. I'm sorry. We all have our moments of weakness. Please forgive me), then wandered down what I think was called Xinjiekou Dong Jie. It was little more than a hutong, but it somehow got the name jie, which just goes to show that the differences between different kinds of streets are just as arbitrary and illogical as the difference between a language and a dialect. Anyway, most of the siheyuan lining the street were torn down, being torn down, or being rebuilt, or sometimes all three at once. But the key here: They were being rebuilt in something approaching the original style.

I walked down the street to Denei (whatever kind of street it's supposed to be) then up to one of many little, ordinary entrances to Houhai, then along the top of Houhai and down the first alley not guarded by idiots on tricycles trying to take me on a Hutong Tour. I popped out onto Gulou Xi Jie and wandered down to the Drum Tower itself. I then weighed up my options: Should I go look for some of these super-cool pubs and cafes I've heard about in this area? But wait, the wind has cleared the air up something amazing: Perhaps I should climb the Drum Tower and take some photos? But there's Jingshan just to the south there, looking as inviting as ever. Why not climb Jingshan? A day like today I should be able to get some brilliant pictures of the Old City: Looking south over the Forbidden City, the Square and south past Qianmen; westwards over Beihai and Haidian to the Western Hills looming majestically in the distance; northwards past the Drum Tower all the way to the northern mountains; and eastwards over..... never mind the east. There's nothing out there worth bothering about. So I chose Jingshan, and I chose to walk there. Hey, it's not that far.

Well, I turned onto Jingshan Dongjie and started walking down to the East Gate, which is the gate I always use. Fuck. There was a huge long line of tour coaches lined up on the side of the road. And before long I was running the gauntlet of Lolex, Five Friendlies, and assorted shit tourists are ordered to be interested in that always gathers outside tourist holes. Jingshan is one of my favouritest parks in the whole world! Is nothing sacred anymore! Shit, man, the way things are going there'll be fucking McDonald's ads in the Lama Temple before long. But I got through unscathed and was pleasantly surprised to discover the gate price was still only 2 kuai. And I was even more pleasantly surprised to see the park was just as quiet, uncrowded and peaceful as it always was.

So I walked up the hill, taking the usual series of shortcuts, then discovered that the five pavillions are under repairs. Well, there were enough side paths around that you could still get almost to the top, but..... I was really hoping to take four photos from the topmost pavillion (万春亭, is it?): One to the south; one to the west; one to the north; and one to the east. Yeah, I know, there's nothing out east worth bothering about, but the set wouldn't be complete without it. But no, all the pavillions were out of bounds and it was not possible to get all the way to the top, and I was stuck on the north side of the hill with no way of getting over to the southern side. I managed to get a few pictures to the west and north through gaps in the foliage, but I had to go back down to the bottom of the hill and wander around to the southern side to find a path back up the hill that might hopefully lead me to a point from which I could take a photo to the south. That was my ultimate goal, because the view of the Forbidden City, the Square, and Qianmen from the top of Jingshan on a day as clear as today is quite simply spectacular. I got to a point just below the summit where I could peer out through the foliage at the Forbidden City, but I wasn't quite high enough for the maximum effect, and being under renovation itself, the Forbidden City wasn't quite at its best either. Still, I thought I'd give it a try, and whipped out the camera. And then the batteries died. Bugger.

Still, the photos I did get should hopefully be worth the effort.

Anyway, I went back out the East Gate, and, to avoid the Lolex scum, immediately crossed the road. Then I ducked down the first hutong and zigzagged my way in a more or less northwards direction. Before long I came across another mass of half-torn down siheyuan, but this time, the mess was plastered with red banners proclaiming, among other things I can't remember, "重新古都风貌". I took that to mean they're going to rebuild the siheyuan in something at least approaching the old style (if somewhat modernised, but you can't deny people the benefits of modernisation for the sake of what you call quaint).

Anyway, it's good to see good things happening. And it was good to get out and just walk for miles. I needed the air and the exercise.

Publié dans chrislzh

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