Every town I have lived in has some strange little thing that belongs only to that town. For example, in Dubai it was the high heels for every occasion, including going to the supermarket and rings that acted more like gloves. In Mumbai it was the young hipster men who got around in the craziest high pant jeans and lurid polyester and other unnatural fibered shirts, often holding hands. Their hair was so full of oil that, instead of dandruff, they had little oil spots on their shoulders (ok, I might be exaggerating just a little).
In Beijing it is the Beijing Bikini. I have been meaning to tell you about this since summer, but I was too shy to actually snap a pic and then the government intervened when I finally found a sneaky way of showing you this.
So, here it is:
The Beijing Bikini is worn by men. They pull the bottom of their shirt up so that their stomach, and sometimes more, is exposed to what ever slight breeze might waft their way, especially effective on a bicycle like this dude.
You will notice a couple of other things that are definitive Beijing (and probably other parts of China, but Shanghai didn’t seem to do this as much and in Inner Mongolia it wasn’t as obvious as it is here) – the three wheel delivery bicycle (usually electric), the face mask though apparently unless you are wearing a gas mask it is not very effective against pollution. I have noticed that more people wear them in the winter to stave off the ice blasting of the lungs each time you breathe in (me included when I ride my bike).
You’ll notice the bus pushing its way between all the bikes – busses go dreadfully slowly because of the number of bicycles on the road and in the right-hand most lanes (next to the curb). Every now and then you get a maverick who blasts his way through with horn and shouting and you just have to get out of his way however you can – often this means jumping up onto the pavement and scaring the bejesus out of the pedestrians and falling off to stop.
The wee doggie in the basket is a fairly common sight too. They love their little dogs here – apartment living and designer fixation being the cause of that. The dogs go everywhere, usually in handbags the size of suitcases. But, they are not allowed on the subway.
So, that is the Beijing Bikini and many other little delights. This painting can be found at the Stumble Inn – which, as its name suggests, is a watering hole. Don’t know who the genius is behind it, but I salute that genius!