Monday, September 10, 2012

Camping near the Great Wall

Saturday afternoon we left our home for a camping adventure. (I can't say we left Beijing, because Beijing is actually a really large area, with several districts and counties surrounding the core city.)

We drove up the JingCheng expressway for about 20 minutes. Next, we zigzagged through the country side for another half hour, until we arrived at our final destination: A chestnut orchard with a view of a Great Wall watch tower.

It was all very idyllic: The kids built a campfire, the parents had a glass of wine, ....and the local Chinese enjoyed a tourist attraction! See below for an impression.

On the road to Huairou district. This is the JingCheng express way.


Just follow the signs.


The backseat gang -- Simon and Thomas and a friend. Look how excited they are about going camping!


Urban renovation. The last few weeks Simon has been studying the challenges and opportunites related to "changing cities." Here's an example of the old making way for the new.


Just another roadside picture of the construction. There's a lot of construction (and construction dust) wherever you go in China.


More bricks, no mortar.


The landscape is turning more green.


Already in the mountains of Huairou district.


A new house.


Charming alley (that might be scheduled for an urban upgrade some day soon.)

Our campground! It's impossible to see, but on top of that mountain is a Great Wall watch tower, watching over us.


Boy camp.


The badminton tournament got underway.


Camp fire and marshmallows at night.


In the morning, some Chinese visitors came to study our camping habits! Four cars -- presumably on their way to something else -- stopped and everyone got out--camera's in hand :-). It was pretty funny. It kind of seemed they were on safari and we were the wild animals. Our visitors walked through the campsite, poked around with the fire, and took some pictures of our (weird?) habbits and those odd white-haired kids, and then went on to their next sight-seeing adventure of the day.
Watching the wildlife :-).  (See the Chinese with their camera's sitting on the little wall next to the cars.)
In het Nederlands: Afgelopen weekend zijn we gaan kamperen. Het was wel een avontuur. Eerst een stukje snelweg, dan wat kronkelen door de bergen en over de dorpjes, en toen waren we in de kastanjeboomgaard. We hadden van te voren geregeld dat we hier konden slapen, maar toch kwamen veel mensen nog even kijken wat we hier deden. Zoveel buitenlanders in een tentje hadden ze denk ik nog niet vaak gezien!


  1. Anna - that is TOO FUNNY about you all being a tourist attractions. I couldn't stop laughing!

  2. Hi again, Anna. Our son Kevin, when he was a toddler was a "towhead" (extremely blonde - now at 21 his hair color is like yours now). I went through a similar transformation but became darker. Very strange about what happens to hair color sometimes.

    Love your camping photo progression. Reminded me that the Chinese economic model has been for a long time heavily into large scale capital investment into infrastructure and construction (residential and commercial) so much so that the "demand" for these structures has become increasingly speculative. In other words, they have created a gigantic structure industry (as opposed to our housing) bubble and this has been rising steadily for several years. It is going to bust. Because the US has a ruined regulatory structure, our bust was spectacularly bad. China, being an authoritarian state will attempt to manage the bursting bubble. Problem is that the Chinese are also very entrepreneurial when given the chance so the management of the bubble collapse could be very messy or interesting.

    Otherwise, hoping you are very well and enjoying the Beijing Fall which is presumably like, what Chicago? We miss you as always.