11/14/07

--空--
Empty places.




the front, and utilized, part of the dormitory.


dog walking


vegetables and 'mums


things.


The "letters" on this building are comprised of Chinese and English, but the symbols are nonsensical.


ghosts.


Cats own this place, like all haunted places.


Ping pong.


Someone other than a fluorescent bar used to hang here.


porch.


ginkos and maples.


this used to be a couch.




Beijing is full of anomalies. On Sunday, the gang and I went to the ghostly old dormitories of 人民大学 (People's University) This is a beautiful and strange place, quiet except for the first and largest building which still holds meetings and classes even though the new university is far from this spot. The dorms were (I believe) built in the early 20th century in a European style with Chinese elements. The grounds are beautiful with abandoned fountains, rock gardens and vegetables growing in weedy lawns. A few people, mostly older and, I'm told, retired faculty, live here. The buildings are in great disrepair with piles of furniture and interesting looking junk on porches and besides steps. We saw mostly elderly looking people walking their dogs or gossiping and the "neighborhood" had that same homey feel of the traditional hutong. Beautiful.

We've been looking for info on these buildings, but not much exists. (At least not in English.) I'll post updates as I find them. I'm worried about the future of these buildings, which are in really poor shape and look almost gutted inside. It doesn't help that they're on rather expensive land being developed near Dongshi subway.

3 comments:

harumi said...

In my head ping pong = china.
They are so good at it.
such a sad thing no one is living such a beautiful building. but are they growing vegitable?

about us said...

are you saying a place like this may be demolished any minute? that's awful! the adventures y'all take are scenenically unbelievable...what a dream! meanwhile, i'm judging high school art at the marriot this week...wow, what a different way of living...i wonder how long it would take for that place to look entirely different? i mean, you know how easy it is to forget what a place looked like before any given transformation had taken place! collective memory loss...frightening! on that note, good nite my honey-bun!

Dadkle said...

It seems like so much fun- and you have your own Chinese Scooby gang to explore mysteries with!

Who's Velma? Shaggy?
And why is Scooby missing?
Wait, don't tell me, I think I may know the answer and I really don't want my worst fears confirmed ...

Seriously, I used to explore abandoned places too, many moons ago. I used to explore abandoned old house sites in Florida (at one point I lived next to one) and found some great old neglected Cemeteries in Louisiana. Friends of mine took lots of photos in an old amusment park in New Orleans- I forget the name- it was sort of an abandoned N.O. Coney Island.

Speaking of which, Astro World at Coney may remain open for one more season before they close and redo the area. The Cyclone, old carousel and Wonder Wheel will remain, but they plan to remake the rest I had fun with Chad there- Disco bumper cars- 'bump your ass off' (I quote). Soon it will be history.

Remember our trip to Playland?
-that terrific old Caliope on the Merry-go-round.

Happy hunting!