前門、敦煌、大理

喂! 你好吗? 这里是乐友在我们这里的麦当劳. 从我们家最近的麦当劳比最近的肯德鸡大, 而且里面的游乐场也更好. 不过现在天气也够暖和了, 可以在外面玩儿. 最近我们去中国美术馆, 他们的敦煌展览非常受欢迎. 去年我跟朋友一起翻译了一本关于敦煌的书. 2000年我去过敦煌. 这次我们跟一位画家一起去看展览. 她曾经跟她父亲一块工作在敦煌. 美术馆的展览那么好是因为他们搜集了70年来的很多不同的仿制品, 也仿制了窟窿和雕塑, 很多做得很好. 拿整个博物馆给了敦煌那边的气氛. 如果你去敦煌你得跟着旅游团, 因为窟窿一般都锁上, 来了团他们才打开, 几分钟以后又关了. 我在那儿就整天跟着不同旅游团. 而在北京看展览大家都可以随便看. 把佛教提供给群众. 真棒!
How are you doing? This is Leo at the local McDonald’s. They are bigger than the local KFC, and have a good playground inside. Actually, the weather has been warm enough to play outside for a long time now. Recently we went to the Meishuguan, the National Gallery. They’re having a very popular Dunhuang exhibition. I co-translated a book on Dunhuang last year, and I have been there in 2000. This time we went with a painter (Zhuang Zhuang’s mother), who had worked in Dunhuang with her father. The great thing about this exhibition is that they have gathered reconstructions and copies of the murals from the last 60 or 70 years. Many copies and cave reconstructions are very good. The really tried to transform the whole museum into a replica of the site, as far as possible. The caves in Dunhuang are only unlocked when a tourist group comes through, and then the cave is locked again after five minutes. So you have to stay the whole day and follow many different groups, like I did. But here in Beijing it is all spread out for everybody. Buddhism for the masses. It’s great.
麥當勞
你好吗? 这里是玛雅和壮壮在美术馆门口. 原来这里是中国斯大林主义油画的天地. 可能现在也还有一些. 不过近两年他们的展览很有意思. 比如周氏兄弟, 他们是1970年代开始的, 80年代出国, 在美国非常成功. 整个美术馆装修了很全面. 后院的餐厅干净好吃. 后院也有不少民军. 不知道是看博物馆还是当他们的军营. 这几个星期整个城市到处都是警察, 更多的是民工. 大广场上的大厅里正在开两会, 就是十一届全国人大一次会议, 还有政协会议. 大广场南边那些古老的街道同时被民工门变成仿制古老的旅游场面. 前门大街, 就是元朝以来北京轴心的一部分, 现在完全不通, 包括左右的胡同, 周边有墙. 墙后面能看见新的仿制古老街道的房子. 周边的工地墙还做得很漂亮, 有古老照片贴上. 原来街道住的人都被赶走了, 把整一带做一个新的, 给老外欣赏.
And here are Maia and Zhuang Zhuang at the Meishuguan entrance. This used to be a museum for Chinese stalinist oil paintings, mostly. They still have them somewhere. But in the last two years or so they have had some very interesting exhibitions. They had the Zhou brothers, who come from the 1970s, emigrated in the 1980s and made it big. They gave the whole building a big makeover. The canteen in the backyard is clean and good. There are a lot of military police stationed in the northwest backyard. I don’t know if they are only there to protect the art. Maybe it’s their local headquarter. The whole city is swarming with police guards, and even more with construction workers. They are having the yearly National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meetings in the Great Hall of the People on Red Square. The construction workers are transforming the old streets immediately south of the Square into a great faux antique theme park. Qianmen Dajie, the south part of the north-south axis going through the city since Mongol times 800 years ago, is completely evacuated and blocked off, including all the side alleys for half a mile in each direction. You can see the theme park buildings rising behind the construction fences, which are decorated walls. Decorated with old city photos from 100 years ago, in part. Everybody moved out, and make it all new, for the foreigners.
 Maia and Zhuang Zhuang

ZHUANG ZHUANG AND MAIA

前门西南边, 就是和平门南边, 在大栅栏的西边还剩下一些胡同. 正在给装修. 有一些楼也拆了, 可是要重新盖, 然后里面有现代的厕所浴室等等. 北京几乎所有剩下的胡同都有民工作装修. 看起来古老北京有一些部分以后还会留着. 有的现在已经是旅游天地. 不过南锣鼓巷还是有创意的气氛. 有一些十刹海一带的街道也拆了, 尤其是前海东边. 可能要做公园. 前门西南剩下的胡同还有一点像前门一带以前的模样, 包括便宜的旅舍. 也许清真寺也还在. 剩下的人也很热情和善良. 不过去年有我们的朋友在大广场和紫禁城一带被抢, 是搭了骑车出租. 城市中心都变成工地也难怪. 前门一带那工地和围墙让我想起来云南大理. 我门2005年和06年去他们正在修新的高速公路, 就在古城围墙边上. 在洱海边上已经有新的很好的公路. 可是在古城和山坡之间的六道新高速是去缅甸的路的一部分. 要一直到边境都这样, 可能是. 路边上的古树都砍了. 而古城里面很多地方不能去. 有工厂和一些单位, 不过还有不少街道被拆了, 然后盖所谓老外街商场. 不过很多旅客都是中国人. 说话回到北京市南边, 那周末我们為什麼去? 是杜鹃的一个同事的女儿受洗礼, 在宣武们天主教教堂.
Southwest of Qianmen, closer to Hepingmen and the west part of Dazhalan, there are some Hutongs left. They are being renovated. Some old buildings are torn down, but they are being rebuilt with plumbing. You can see the swarms of Mingong (migrant workers) busy in all the Hutongs in the city that are still intact. Maybe they are doing a good job. So it seems that some parts of old Beijing will remain. Some of them are tourist streets already. Nanluoguoxiang is a creative quarter, to some extent. They have torn down some streets there too, east of Shichahai lake. Maybe there will be a canal side park. The remaining Hutongs southwest of Qianmen retain some features of the former Qianmen area, complete with cheap hotels. Maybe the mosque is still there, too. People are friendly, the real ones that remain. Friends of us got robbed in some Hutong cul-de-sac near the Square and the Forbidden City last year. Bicycle cab took them for a ride. Not surprising when huge areas in the city center are instant ruins and construction sites. The whole Qianmen walled-off theme park construction site reminded me of Dali, Yuannan province. In 2006, they had been building a six-lane freeway next to the west side of the old city for a few years already. There is a big new highway on the east side already, all the way around the lake. But this is the old Burma road, so they want to show off all the way to the border. They had already cut down the old trees along the road, maybe all the way to Burma, to widen the road. And about half of the old city was still off-limits. Some are plants and factories, but some parts are just old streets being torn down and replaced with malls for foreigners. And Chinese tourists, of course. Why did we go all the way to the south of Beijing at all this weekend? The daughter of an office colleague of Jackie was baptized in the Catholic church at Xuanwumen.

DEMON

你好吗? 这里是玛雅在洗礼小教堂. 不是她的洗礼. 杜鹃信基督教, 要完一点给孩子洗礼. 天主教基督教在中国都很有意思. 大小城市和山地边区的教堂都很值得去看看, 无论你信教不信. 田壮壮拍云南茶马道电影一半部分都说山地边区的庙和教堂, 还有信徒.
This is Maia in the chapel for the baptism ceremonies. No, she’s not baptized yet. They do it later in the Lutheran churches. Jackie is Protestant, and we have frequented Lutheran services since our wedding. Christianity in China is a very interesting topic. The old church buildings, both in the cities and in remote places all the way into the Himalayas, are all worth visiting, even if you are not religious at all. More than half of Tian Zhuangzhuang’s film on the old tea road in Yunnan is about churches, temples and believers in remote mountain valleys.

BAPTISM

下边我们又回到麦当劳. 我没有前面大街工地的照片, 因为我带着睡觉的乐友围绕着围墙. 从围墙南门照像应该是个好照片, 也应该有好的照相机, 还要躲开卫兵. 乐友三月十四三岁了. 张大了, 还不能说话, 虽然听懂很多, 也会说一点点. 一般一直在动. 不过很温和, 跟玛雅和他父母比起来, 而且也不挑食. 玛雅现在可以安静地跟朋友玩儿. 在楼下跟羊羊玩, 是而单元邻居的女儿. 羊羊和玛雅, 乐友和壮壮在幼儿园是一个班.
And here we are at the McDonald’s again. I don’t have a photo from Qianmen Dajie construction street, because I was carrying Leo asleep around the theme park wall when we passed the south gate of that construction site which is at least as big as the Forbidden City. Would have been a great picture, with a real camera. But there was a guard, who was just closing the gate. Leo is three years old on Friday, March 14, 2008. He has grown, but he still doesn’t say more than five clearly discernible words in any language, although he understands a lot and tells you very forcefully when he needs something. He needs to run around a lot. Not fussy with food at all though, and very mild in his temper in general, compared with Maia, or his parents. But Maia can play rather quietly with a friend for hours now. She has been doing that in our yard downstairs, with Yang Yang, the daughter of a Chinese neighbour on staircase #2 in our building. Yang Yang goes to the same Kindergarten group as Zhuang Zhuang, Maia and Leo.

mouth

幼儿园早就请孩子家长去鸟巢和那个水盒子, 就是奥运最新最大的体育场. 要带孩子在那儿照相. 羊羊爸爸已经去, 说那边还都是工地, 不去也好. 我早就有关于奥运的宣传标语的照片, 为奥运服务等等. 没有孩子, 幼儿园又不要. 幼儿园还要三八妇女节的小礼物, 以后让孩子们送给幼儿园附近一些单位的阿姨等等. 可惜我没想好带什么. 应该带花, 我现在想. 我们那天从前门东大街坐公交车回左家庄就一直听到一位在两会上很重要的男人讲三八妇女节. 人多, 没看到电视屏幕. 坐公共汽车在北京这两年很好, 售票员都让人家起来让带孩子的人坐下. 乐友还在睡觉. 玛雅就坐在轮子上面那地儿. 然后老人上车, 杜鹃给他让座, 跟玛雅坐. 北京公交车路很长. 120路还在国贸绕圈子, 不在永安里拐弯, 大概是因为建国门外车流已经太慢了.

Yang Yang’s father went with her to the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest, the two big new Olympic sites. They had asked for photos with the kids in front of the new sites at Kindergarten. Last week, at the last parent’s meeting, they appealed again for photos. Yang Yang’s father advised us against going. Most of the area is still a construction site, he said. Oh well. I have photos of slogans for the Olympics, in the Hutongs and on banners at highway construction sites. They probably don’t want those. They had asked for a small gift for Women’s day also, for the kids to pass them around the women in the neighbourhood. I didn’t come up with anything, and Jackie was too busy. On the bus on the way back from Qianmen East street on Saturday there was a long speech for Women’s Day on TV. The guy holding the speech was very important at the National People’s Congress and The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. I couldn’t see the screen. The conductor made people get up to give us two seats when we got on. Leo was still sleeping. Maia sat down on the space above a wheel. Then Jackie stood up for an old man and sat there on the wheel with Maia. It was a long trip. Beijing bus lines go on forever. And then there is the traffic. The 120 makes a detour around Guomao, probably in an effort to ease the congestion on Jianguomenwai.
 spring
这是在左家庄北里, 上幼儿园的路. 幼儿园在北里, 我们住南里. 南里还可以, 有院子孩子门可以玩, 也有几颗树. 不过最近居委会也想准备奥运, 把私人绿化的架子都拆了. 还好我们住六楼, 管不找我们的绿化. 院里桑树架子没了就残了, 最后还是要砍掉很多树枝. 希望大家春天过得好! 有时间看看 https://erguotou.wordpress.comhttp://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/dujuan99nihon/. 再会!
This was in Beili, on the way to the Kindergarten, just across the road from our place. The houses in Beili are the same as in Nanli, where we live. We live at the top of staircase #5 in house 6. The compound is not too bad. Children can run around, and there are some trees. But even here in our compound we have some Olympic activism. The residents’ committee got rid of all private additions to the greenery on ground level. Our terrace is to high, thankfully. The mulberry tree is still standing, but they removed the trellises that held up the lower branches, and so they had to cut off the lower branches this weekend. Have a good spring! And check out http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/dujuan99nihon/, when you have time. See you!
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