Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Beijing and What's new in Sanlitun

There is more than beer bars in Sanlitun.
Around noon you can see the strange situation of having ex pats in business suits and sun glasses sitting on stylish verandas of European restaurants next to the migrant workers squatting on their yellow helmets on the sidewalk - both enjoying their lunch break and the warm sunshine.

The Italian restaurant 'Assagi' has underwent major renovation work and has been closed for several months. It is going to open soon. New about the Assagi building is that downstairs it hosts now a 'Panino Teca' selling Italian sandwich and pastry. It is already fully operational and packed during lunchtime.

South of Dongzhimenwai the French Eatery 'Le Petit Paris' also got a face lift and extended their well frequented terrace. Next door is 'Gustomenta', the Italian ice parlour. Since last year it is neighbouring the construction field of a new shopping complex. The roof construction is almost finished. A few months ago there were hutong alleys with small courtyard houses and low rise red brick apartment buildings. And still more has to vanish for a luxury hotel complex (in the media it was called the 'Versace Hotel' but I have no confirmation that the interior will be designed by Versace). The new rental fee will then no longer be affordable for these charming colourful bistros and shops along the street. They will disappear - probably in favour of Mac Donald and Starbucks.

Back to Sanlitun North of Dongzhimenawai there is another construction going on since several months. The river was kept dry and an endless blue fence had been erected along the river banks. Me curious, I cycled around the construction to find little holes in the fence to see more.

There were some signs of 'no stopping' that made me feel like a spy when I took pictures of the new waterfront and the river bank reinforcement. - It looks like their will be a catwalk under the bridge of the third ring road so you can easily walk or cycle between North Sanlitun and Lufthansa Complex. It will be very nice to stroll along the river when everything is finished. I hope they will let the water back in before the Olympic Games in summer 2008.

(More pictures at my Beijing China Set on Flickr.com)

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