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|Monday, September 10, 2001, updated at 16:34(GMT+8)|
Hutong Tours in Beijing Attract ForeignersSome Chinese pedicabmen dressed in black leisurely stop their tricycles in front of a fair trade market, letting off some excited German tourists. These visitors are doing some sightseeing in Beijing through Xuanwu Hutong Tours,according to latest issue of Beijing Review.
Xuanwu Hutong Tours was founded in 2000, and, as the name suggests, is located in Beijing's Xuanwu District."More than 20,000 tourists have gone on trips arranged by Xuanwu Hutong Tours, and 98 percent of our clients are foreigners," says Bai Weijiang, manager of Xuanwu Hutong Tours.
After the hutongs, narrow alleys common in Beijing's downtown residential areas, markets selling farm products are major tourist attractions.
Many foreign tourists prefer participating in the culture of their destinations to passively taking in the sights. That makes them especially interested in the daily lives of Beijingers, and the hutong tour gives them just that-a glimpse of Beijingers ' daily lives.
The market is one of the places on the itinerary. These tourists spend their time taking pictures, or finding out prices in as much Chinese as they can manage.
As for the traditional courtyard houses in the hutongs, many of these foreign tourists are curious about every feature of these old-style houses£ºthe rooms, the honeycomb briquettes used for cooking on special stoves, and even the graffiti created by children on the walls.
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