1/500, ƒ/2.2, ISO 400, 35mm
Sanlitun is an area in Beijing's Chaoyang District packed with high and low end shopping malls, restaurants and bars. In the 1950s, the new government moved most of the embassies here and built several apartment complexes reserved for foreign diplomats in and around the neighborhood (until the 1980s, these apartments were generally the only places where foreigners could legally live). As China opened up in the 1970s and 1980s, bars and restaurants catering to foreigners began to appear.
Like most of Beijing, Sanlitun has undergone a dramatic transformation. Until about a decade ago, most of the businesses catered to a younger, budget-minded audience, and cheap bars and hostels were surrounded by low-rise apartment buildings and hutong neighborhoods. Then the Olympics arrived and with that several high-end developments. Today, an upscale, open air shopping complex called the Village (recently renamed Taikoo Li in an effort of corporate branding
) has become the center of Sanlitun complete with designer stores like Rolex and Versace and a trendy boutique hotel (where the nightly rates exceed the monthly salaries of people living just blocks away).
Despite the changes, traces of old Sanlitun remain. I recently took a walk with my camera around one of the hutongs behind Sanlitun Village. The contrast between the new and the old is mind-boggling, really--even if it's typical by now for most large Chinese cities.
1/2000, ƒ/1.4, ISO 1600, 35mm
Read on below the fold for more shots.
1/2500, ƒ/1.8, ISO 1600, 35mm
1/160, ƒ/2.5, ISO 1600, 35mm
1/4000, ƒ/1.4, ISO 400, 35mm
1/400, ƒ/1.8, ISO 1600, 35mm