Sunday, December 18, 2005

I drag my weary head and blistered feet to my computer this morning and attempt to work out if the world really is little quieter save for a buzzing coming from some unknown direction. Last night was truly superb. As we walked into the Banana club, a barrage of opulence overwhelms the senses. When we got in at 11.00 the place was already heaving and the bass made your skin tingle as we took a tour of another of Beijing's top clubs. With seating only for those who were there with the big bucks, we took in the sights and sounds of the glitterati and pseudopunk - crimped mullets, leggings and stilettos, and wondered from room to room filled with smoke, extortionate bottles of whiskey and very attractive well dressed Beijingers. People come to impress here and do a pretty damn good job of it. After circling all the minor rooms we found ourselves overlooking the dancefloor. A pulsating mass of bodies jumping in time to waves of techno, the smoke machines and lasers adding to the deafening noise to completely blow any chance you had of thinking rational thoughts like "should I really be enjoying this?". We got onto the dancefloor which is sprung with six inch springs making it impossible to stand around and look bored as I've seen in so many other clubs meaning the whole space becomes a single miasmic entity. Somehow we made our way onto the large podium with 20 other clubbers and there we stayed for the next four hours...and what a four hours it was. I spoke before about the problem of fearing authority but I think that this has a flip-side which is hero-worship. When Carl Cox got onto the decks, the place erupted with adrenalin like this man was a god, and worship they did. As the eyes of the pill-poppers around me became more and more dilated through the night and their gurning faces took on Da Vincian proportions, we jumped more and more as the atmosphere continued to charge. As if the lasers and bass to kick your stomach from your torso weren't enough, the many videos around the room took in the crimes and misdemeanors of 1000 clubbers covered in foam and as the cages descended with leopard skin clad dancers and men wielding angles grinders to rain sparks around the bar I stood open mouthed witnessing this burlesque spectacle. My God, the Beijingers KNOW how to party. What a truly awesome night of jumping and arm-waving, twisting and gyrating and, just occasionally, leaning back against the wall to watch as these people had the time of their lives.

Photos from the evening are on their way.


So today, having recovered a little from last night by sitting in a cafe and imbibing as much caffeine in as short a time as I could manage while diving into a good book, I headed off on the metro in an unknown direction to photograph whatever flashed past the window. The train took me on a huge circle around the outskirts of the city and towards the CBD. In all it was almost an hour on the train and most of what we past was the strange mix of old and new I wrote about before. Luckily it was around sunset and though I took many more photos than this, only a few of them are worth a look. The quantity of construction is absolutely staggering with towerblock after towerblock in continuous phases of development.

So, here are some of the photos from today's random journey:

People wandering about on the frozen rivers:

A suspension bridge floating in the middle of the city. I haven't seen it close up and don't really know where it is but it's a striking sight:

We must have past many thousands of cranes. Construction managers are often somewhat reluctant to get in more cranes apparently because for the price of crane hire, you can easily get another couple of thousand workers on site - manpower is cheap.

It's rather strange going past these shells of sky scrapers which look like ghost buildings at the moment:

Again, we got a decent view of mountains with buildings in the foreground:

And a couple of sunset photos. The first going past a wooded area with leafless trees - I don't know whether this is the time of year of the pollution which means that they are leafless. I suspect the former:

The silhouettes of pylons and smoke stacks look impressive against the sunset:

Anyway, again, enough for now. I hope to go on another random journey at some point to explore some more.

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