Two zero zero eight.
It’s the year of the Olympics alright. Most radio and TV stations have been broadcasting a daily countdown for the last couple of months now: “just a friendly reminder: the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are XXX days ahead!”
One thing is for sure though – China would always win gold when it comes to fireworks:
Seriously, anything I’ve seen in Europe or the States is child-play against this madness. And New Year’s Eve isn’t even a prime time of fireworks over here.
I took a leisure day and a walk around Wang Family Courtyard 王家大院, another merchant’s private estate from Qing-dynasty, much like Chang Family Mansion (sheepolution) and Qiao Family Courtyard (camel #4).
This time I did something different though: I paid extra money and hired a guide, which proved to be a very good idea. There are so many details to be missed out on otherwise:
After the downfall of the Wang-family and the proclamation of the People’s Republic, farmers had been living on these premises up until the mid-nineties.
They had been using the very same buildings and furniture passed on from centuries ago:
Several families would share a courtyard as if it was just a regular settlement.
…only much more beautiful and refined:
From what my guide told me, the remaining parts of Wang Family Courtyard are only about 25% of the original size.
To me, two things still remain unimaginable:
1) the amount of destruction that all these places have suffered.
2) the massive size and and the awe-abiding grace and tastefulness of these architectural monuments.
I stayed for a long time:
Looks pretty, doesn’t it.
This is not about photography; finding an angle, pressing a few buttons.
Really, the beauty is all there in that breath-taking moment:
One thing I often get over here is: “Germany? Good! Strong economy!”
But there are just some things money can’t buy.