On my 10 minute bike ride to Chinese lessons, I ride past 46 restaurants and a big shopping mall with another 25 or so eateries inside. I'm not sure why but I counted them the other day. As if I needed to remind myself that it's convenient and fun to live in the city and to be spoilt for choice!
Some of you may remember my blog post from last month about possibly moving outside the city The idea of a lovely villa with a garden as well as a shorter distance to the kids' school started to seem attractive to us. But there is no denying that my husband and I are city people!
In a city of 25 million people, there are obviously places that are very far away from us but everything we need in our daily lives lies within biking or walking distance from our home. Whether it's work, Chinese lessons, the supermarket, the hairdresser's, the dentists', the dry cleaners or said variety of restaurants.
We like to have the hustle and bustle around us. We do not mind the slightest that you can hear the traffic on the busy road below us from our apartment on the 7th floor, even with all the windows closed. The charm of Chinese 差不多 "quality" housing.
We like how distance is never really an issue when it comes to discovering the sights in the city centre. The fact that we can meet friends in the evening or go listen to some live music without too much planning going into it. The fact that, just by crossing Nong Than Guan Nan Lu, we're in the Tuanjiehu neighbourhood with its markets and communities where it's not uncommon to meet elderly men taking their birds in a cage for a walk. We agree that taking your bikes to the theatre in the evening is priceless - as is biking to the Forbidden city on a Sunday afternoon.
But most of all, we like to feel part of the city. See Beijingers, listen to Běijīng huà being spoken, horns being honked and spit being spat! ....no wait...