One thing I noticed in our mammoth walk yesterday is that there are public toilets everywhere. My usual tourist modus operandi is to walk confidently into five star hotels, but we are looking a little downmarket for that method to work here.

So I tried them out. Surprisingly clean and unsmelly. We decided that the reason is probably that many of the dwellings in the Hutongs don’t actually have toilets inside. So this part of Beijing is on that part of the development curve where the city is very sanitary, but often in public, rather than private.

That’s also probably why there are so many street vendors selling hot food. In development terms it’s a mixture of Victorian London and 21st century Singapore, just depending on exactly which neighborhood you happen to find yourself in.

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