Saturday, 9 May 2009
A Little Beijing: an anusual guide for unusual travellers
If a visitor to Beijing is walking through its amazing old hutongs (alleys) he might want to buy a postcard of the impressions he had to write home about. Then he or she will look around and realize that there are no decent postcards available (so far) in this (still slightly) communist country. And if it happens that this accidental traveller is a photographer and graphic designer, she might later come up with a creative idea.
Linzy Q., the accidental traveller, is a talented photographer and professional graphic designer based in Singapore. Also she is a passionated postcard writer and likes to discover places by walking, egg. Beijing. So she came up with this simple but beautiful idea of an unusual postcard guide for 7 Beijing walking tours. She made the pictures and styled the cards, published it in Singapore and won a design award. She even blogs about her project that has a modest name: A Little Beijing.
The idea is that the visitor just grabs about 10 postcards per tour and per day that guide him/her to touristic sights along non-touristic hidden gems or vice-versa. The Little Beijing project becomes interactive when users give feed-back on the blog or prove that the postcards have arrived.
The more pictures I see the more I want to own one Little Beijing postcard set myself. You do not necessarily need to write postcards, buy Chinese stamps and send them home (hoping that the postmen don’t like them too much…). You could keep them as souvenirs or stick them into your scratch book.
So far the Little Beijing guide is only available in a few bookstores in Hong Kong and Singapore or online via a little Beijing.
I recommended Linzy to get in contact with shops in Nanluogu Xiang Hutong (near the Drum Tower) in Beijing. They sell unique Beijing souvenirs beside their own branded products. Also the Beijing Bookworm in Sanlitun would be an excellent selling point for this visionary guide. I would guess that the expat crowd will jump on it what makes the perfect gift for birthdays, newcomers, visitors and farewell parties.
A big thanks to Lara Dunston from cooltravelguide who gave me the hint and posted about it here.
Interview with Linzy Q, the maker of A Little Beijing (via mail) :
BN: Linzy, how did you come up with the tours? Did you walked them by yourself, did you ask friends?
Linzy: I came up with a 7 day guide of places that I’ve been to or stumbled upon that i think is interesting. Back then, I was constantly surprised by new findings. While heading to a place, I’ll find something else along the way.
BN: How many tours do you suggest? Do they have names?
Linzy: Each day is differentiated by a different colour so easier for navigation on the main map. each card is numbered, with the name of the place. egg. 3.07 (http://alittlebeijing.blogspot.com/2008/03/to-ilsy.html) would be the 7th card of day 3, with "Nightlife by the lake" being the title. there are also cards like 6.02 where it's a record of my feelings for a place rather than just a proper write-up introduction.
I see this whole guide as a documentation of my Beijing and by passing this guide on to others, it would become theirs. When they write their thoughts over and send it out, the whole project becomes interactive.
BN: Who is your target group? Chinese and foreigners?
Linzy: adventurous travellers who are looking for more beyond the basic touristy attractions.
BN: Where did you realize your idea? Where is it printed? Singapore?
Linzy: yup, everything was done back here in Singapore.
BN: Are you a graphic designer? Photographer?
Linzy: I'm a graphic designer and photography is my way of remembering things/people/places/events.
BN: Do you collect postcards from where you travel?
Linzy: I do!!! I have this habit of collecting postcards and sending them back to family and friends when I’m travelling.
BN: You plan this for other cities?
Linzy: yup, definitely.
Thanks for the interview and all the best for your project and the ones to come!
(Photo Source: Linzy Q)