This was definitely one of my best moments. Here, I felt like I was a part of this culture, becoming a part of a community where all the hardships I had witnessed was possible to overcome.
A rickshaw was a means of transport back in the Qing Dynasty. This definitely adds to the amazing Hutong experience. Just sitting in a rickshaw for 15 minutes really allows you to absorb the ancient Beijing lanes and the quadrangle houses that have been preserved for over 700 years in the Hutong district.
Near the entrance of the Hutong district, there are rows of rickshaws. Our driver took us around the area in a rickshaw which was really cool. By the end of the ride, you tip the driver which is standard. Based on Australian prices, these tips are very small. Only about 10 rmb (which makes out to be about $2 AUD) which I think is extremely reasonable. As you sit in these rickshaws and observe the land around you, you realise how lucky you are if you’ve always lived in a Westernised country like Australia or America. Apart from volunteering to teach English in Xi’an China, I also wanted to experience the hard lifestyle people here live through and from this, learn the valuable meaning of life. It’s incredible how a short ride in a rickshaw can really make you think this way!
As part of the tour, we were guided to a local house in the same Hutong district to have some home cook traditional Chinese food in a very traditional Chinese house. The food was delicious. I have to say it was probably the best food I had in Beijing which was included as part of the tour. Not only was it good, it also really reminded me of home. Being away from home on a trip all alone, was definitely very different and difficult at the start. This truly represented what a true home cooked meal should be. It may not look like any 5 star meal you see around, but it represents family, hard work and dedication- efforts gone through to have this meal prepared and brought to the table to be shared to others.
As we finished, we were taken back to the entrance of the Hutong district via the rickshaw and there I said goodbye to another historical Chinese district depicting another part of the Chinese culture.