Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beijing is Huge

Looking at a map of Beijing, you would realize it's a big city, one that sprawls out in concentric circles from the Forbidden City at its heart. What would not be obvious is the scale of the city. A block in Beijing can take 20 minutes to pass on foot, and even more if you go through the labyrinth of driveways, alleys and footpaths that wind through each one. Earlier today, when I was on my way to the gym (it's at the northeast corner of my block and is about a 15 minute walk), I passed by a building that was being torn down. Men with pickaxes were hacking away at the walls, and four horse-drawn carts were on hand to take away the debris.

But in the same city, in the same Beijing, is this building I passed by last night, the new headquarters for the main government-controlled broadcasting station in China. I had seen pictures of it before, and I generally dismissed it as something that belonged more on the set of a science fiction movie than in the middle of an actual city. But when I saw it in person, the thing could not be laughed at. The size of it (my dormitory building could fit at least half a dozen times into the hole in the middle, and my dorm is not a small building even for Beijing), and the terrifying overhang of the section where the towers join, are completely overwhelming. And of course half a mile from it are buildings that look as if they have been neither renovated nor cleaned since the fall of the Qing.


tanya said...

Kevin, I'm slightly disappointed at the lack of creativity in the title of this blog entry

glad you're having fun :)

Lucky said...

Wow, nice picture!
Beijing is really big...everything looks a lot closer on a map.
Kevin, do you know how to adjust the placement of pictures in a post?
Mine tend to be scattered about at the beginning of the post.