the exit gate of the forbidden city shone in such a fresh and strong red that it was almost painful in the eyes – and to the sensor, as the histogram showed. a friend later on told me that the preliminaries of the olympic games 2008 had included a real orgy in paint, even in the hutongs, the leftovers of the traditional beijing quarters, where all the roadside walls were painted grey.

from imperial splendor into the poorer quarters(2) from imperial splendor into the poorer quarters(3) of course this was only a make-up and was not connected to substantial improvements. the hutongs were a strong contrast to the splendor of the forbidden city, and a contrast to the modern, multi-story, skyscraper architecture that is the visible result of the olympics boom. the hutongs feature a similar red as the old parts of the forbidden city, but the rest is dreary and grey, except for the more touristic parts.

from imperial splendor into the poorer quarters

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