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.
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.