The Last Siheyuan

Yesterday, we had lunch with Nai Nai‘s side of the family. She lives in one part of the siheyuan pictured behind Shanshan and Chong Chong. The siheyuan is located inside the East Second Ring Road.

There used to be a village of such dwellings. But, over the last few years, the others have been torn down to make room for a shopping mall, and an upscale hotel complex which is under construction… you can see one of the many boom cranes in use in the background of the picture.

The families living in the siheyuan have served the government in one function or another. So, at least until they pass away (which will hopefully be a long time from now) it should be safe from demolition.

btw, we had lunch in a restaurant located in the nearby mall; the meal was primarily of Western food.

Lunch with Nainai

During the past three Spring Festivals, my wife and I have gone to lunch with Nainai and others from my wife’s father’s side of the family at a branch of the Bian Yi Fang restaurant. This restaurant, known for their Beijing Roast Duck, was supposedly founded in 1419, although this branch is quite a bit newer than that… taking-up the entire fourth floor of the Glory Mall, conveniently located next to Nainai’s siheyuan. (That said, we would gladly have given-up some convenience to have had the Glory Mall located elsewhere, since it now sits where a fair amount of the hutong that surrounded Nainai’s siheyuan once was.)

In any event the food was delicious, the company fantastic, and I’m looking forward to going there again next year.

Siheyuan Wall

This is a wall inside the siheyuan where  Nai Nai (Shanshan’s paternal grandmother) lives. The rest of what was once a large  hutong has been leveled, presumably to make way for a five-star hotel complex. (The siheyuan is located well within the Second Ring Road, which makes it very valuable real estate.)

The siheyuan, where Shanshan spent the first three years of her life, was spared because of special circumstances regarding some of the (mostly elderly) people living there.

We don’t know what will happen to the property in the future.