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Beijing 2006 - Enjoying the afternoon sun

Marjolein Katsma

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Share this page Photo © 2006 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
hutong, beijing, china, peaceful, car, parked, bicycle, bike, woman, elderly woman, sunshine, afternoon sun, tiĕ shù xié jiē, tie shu xie jie, tieshu byway, tieshu diagonal street, xié jiē, xie jie

Part of the Beijing 2006 – The hutong series; see my same-named journal post for a bit of background.

See the location on a satellite map (Google’s street map doesn’t register with the satellite view!)

An elderly woman sits on her stoop on Tiĕshù xié jiē (Tieshu diagonal road or Tieshu byway), enjoying the afternoon sun and keeping an eye on what’s going on in her street. The buildings here also seem to be in good repair, and while the grass growing on one of the roofs seems to suggest otherwise, it will also serve as eco-friendly insulation. The parked car, half on the stoop, still seems to be out of place here.

It’s also peaceful and quiet here, but in the distance, out of frame, demolition is taking place to make space for a wider road to handle Beijing’s increasing traffic… But the woman’s house is probably safe from that.

About the street name:

Tiĕshù (铁树) literally means ‘iron tree’; as I found out through Ali Baba it is the Chinese common name for Cycas revoluta, a ‘primitive’ flowering plant confusingly named ‘Sago palm’: it is not actually a palm, but a Cycad; it is possible to create a type of ‘sago’ from it but the process requires extensive washing because all parts of the tree are actually poisonous to all animals (including humans). But, like many poisonous plants, it also has many medicinal uses (at leasy in China), as indicated by the Ali Baba article. About the ‘xié jiē’ part of the street name, translated by Google Maps as ‘byway’, see my analysis here

Camera: Fuji Finepix F30

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