Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Bus Yard 

Fortunately for me, lots of day tourists like to come to Fragrant Hills. So the village where I live has a transportation system that is considerably better than would be the case if it were not situated right next to Fragrant Hills Park. The price I pay for that is that this place is crawling with people on weekends. I usually stay away Saturday and Sunday. But also fortunately for me, most people do not want to live here. The commute is too long. So during the week, and especially in the evenings, it is a relatively quiet, peaceful place to live. From the bus yard at Fragrant Hills, which is about a five minute walk from my home, there are buses going to several different parts of the city. Since Fragrant Hills is in the extreme northwest, the bus routes mainly connect with various parts of the Haidian District. But the Xiyuan Transport Hub between here and Zhongguancun allows connections to all parts of Beijing.

There are a few young people living out here who work in Zhongguancun, but for the most part, young people tend to avoid this area (especially foreign young people), because they don't want to give up the night life of the city. I have never been much of a bar person (except for coffee bars), so I don't miss the racket of Wudaokou. But it is probably a good thing that I lived in that area when I first came to Beijing, because it made for a much easier adjustment. There are lots of language schools in Wudaokou. Nothing like that out here. But during all those years that I lived in the university environment, I did not encounter that many people who could not speak English. Here in the village, nobody speaks English, so while there are no schools, learning takes place every day. Frustrating in the extreme if you don't know anything of the language, but very convenient if you have gotten to the place where you can basically communicate. For people who have to show up at a job every day, it isn't that attractive, because the time spent commuting means that you really don't have time to appreciate the location. But if you don't absolutely need to be at the office every day, then it is nice (if a bit inconvenient) to live near the hills.

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