Nov 15, 2005

Beijing, the Los Angeles of China - 北京像中国的洛杉矶

Beijing's closest parallel in the US is Los Angeles. Currently, Beijing's sister cities in the US are Washington and New York. That was a poor match-up, and you'll see below why LA would have been a better choice.

Slangin' cane
In LA, all manner of drugs can be scored in numerous locations. The local musicians and actors need a wide selection to maintain their edge. The street-level trade seems to be controlled by gangs.

In Beijing's Sanlitun bar district, heavily accented African men loiter at street corners. They seem to be doing a brisk trade, in the words of Ice Cube, “breakin' off rocks like Barney Rubble”. Maybe they're not selling crack, but it's something illegal. The Beijing dealers seem to operate without fear of the jakes. It's apparent they must have some sort of agreement worked out with law enforcement because they've not been executed yet. I suppose the LA dealers could have the same type of arrangement.

Hookers for hire
In LA, South Central, Hollywood, and other run-down areas are ripe with hookers. Beijing has Sanlitun (again), plus seedy hair salons, karaoke parlors, hostess bars, and door-to-door service massage girls. On the outer edge of the main drag of Sanlitun, women stroll through idling BMWs and Benzs, trying to catch the attention of prospective johns.

LA has a neighborhood called Koreatown. Beijing has a neighborhood called Wudaokou (五道口) which is a Koreatown, and is often referred to as such by locals (韩国村).

Horrible pollution
Beijing and LA are both surrounded by mountains and have some sort of “temperature inversion” thing that occurs to trap in the pollutants and smog. LA cleaned up its act over the last decade, but Beijing is still many years behind solving its problem.

The traffic is horrendous in both LA and Beijing. There are traffic jams everywhere and it often takes more time to cover distance in a car than by foot. Beijing doesn't yet have carpool lanes.

Movie studios
Beijing has some respectable movie studios. Edward Norton wrapped a movie shoot in Beijing a couple months ago.


Blogger absolutED said...

but other than the Movie studios part, all others are the same as in nyc....

7:58 PM  

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