When I moved to Beijing in 1998, this was the map of the subway system (unchanged since 1969):
This is the Beijing subway map today:
What a difference 17 years makes!
On Wednesday afternoon I landed back in Beijing, after being away for 5 months. I’ll be in town for a month, connecting with people and working on a couple of projects. I must admit that it was strange to arrive without having an apartment of my own to go to. Never mind; thanks to the generosity of friends, I am not homeless.
Yesterday was a glorious spring day in The Jing, so I got out and walked around the old ‘hood. As is always the case in China, things have changed a lot. All the trees have been chopped down along one street which is apparently being widened. A 3-story mound of dirt marks the spot where our beloved “Green Umbrellas” restaurant used to be. And the plaza where the pensioners dance every evening is now housing for migrant construction workers.
The biggest change, though is the opening of a subway line. For years, we on the far west side of town had no easy access to the subway system, but that all changed in December, with the opening of Line 6, and the extension of Line 10. No more long bus rides or expensive cab fares to get out of the area.
Pretty exciting, until this morning I stumbled across a photo essay on the China Daily website about the Beijing subway system, and was reminded of how crowded they are.
Line 6, here we come!!!
Image source: China Daily