Beijing’s Sanlitun Village seems to be back to its lively time in 2019. People are once again gathering in Sanlitun after nearly six months of silence in the end of December. Photographers, bar owners, cab drivers and customers, they reappeared. [Life after the epidemic in Sanlitun Village,Beijing]
We captured the moments of Christmas Eve in Sanlitun Village on camera. Sunlitun Village is a fashion landmark in Beijing, which covers a total area of over 53,000 square meters. It contains many bars, restaurants, and stores. It is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area has been under almost constant regeneration since the late 20th century as part of a citywide project of economic regrowth. It currently houses many bars and clubs popular with both locals and foreigners
When you are really among the crowd and look at the flow of people on the street. You watch the exchange of goods and needs and the unfamiliarity of the fashion elements. You will wonder what we’ve lost and gained in the past three years.
Sanlitun seems to be the same as before, but it seems to be different.
Wang Fang (Chinese girl’s name ) has aged a lot in past three years. She is actually a front-line community worker and dealing with residents and hospitals every day. Beijing was at the peak of the infection season a week ago. She became a 24-hours server in the community.
An old couple in their eighties had been infected Covid 19 at the same time. Both of them had no smartphones, no stockpile of medication at home, and their children were abroad. So they had to call Wang Fang for help. She ran through all the pharmacies stores within a 3-kilometer to get medicine.
Her friend wasn’t so lucky. An “old lady” who loved to take pictures in Sanlitun just like her was taken away by the virus these days. Wang Fang realizes that her time is also very limited.
He thought that there are two years to retirement. She will do some her favourite things such as street photography.
Song Qi and Xiaotang are standing in line in front of a bakery among the crowds of people coming to Sanlitun on Christmas Eve. They are two special people.
These two are Korean students. They became interested in Chinese because they watched a movie. They came to Beijing last year to study Chinese and Korean translation.
As a result, the epidemic hit them as soon as they arrived. All the local students went home, leaving them to guard the dormitory, not even being able to leave the school. They came out of the college dormitory to spend Christmas Eve in Sanlitun. They decided to get in line getting Netflix bakery.
Sanlitun Village is gradually quiet down in the cold breeze at 10pm. There are fewer people waiting in line at the restaurant. The staff and owner finally had time to sit down and relax. They haven’t been this busy in a long time.
Li Bing opened a Japanese yakiniku restaurant with a dozen tables inside. She said so much that her voice was hoarse during the day, but she still couldn’t hide her happiness. Her restaurant almost went bankrupt in the year 2022 because of the epidemic. Many customers came to dinner at Christmas Eve. She saw spring is coming.
Everyone who does catering in Sanlitun can tell some stories of peers and friends leaving. Li Bing said that one of her friend rented a store to open restaurant and invested millions Chinese Yuan. The restaurant closed down before it had a chance to open for business.
Li Bing also thought of stopping the loss. She still has a hope in the last. The good thing is that this Christmas Eve gave her something to look forward to. “It’s okay”, she said it to herself. “we’ll hang in there a little longer, we’ll be fine soon”.
Many people think of Sanlitun as a the youngest, and edgiest place in Beijing. The bar represents Sanlitun – a space of freedom, passion and ecstasy. Even the sexiest imagination will have the moment to fall into reality in the past three years.
And once the cheer, but instead heard in the roadside doll-clamping store. People are just as happy to get their own dolls as they are to see others get theirs in the long-lost atmosphere.
A little girl stood in front of the machine for 20 minutes and spent 100 yuan did not catch the toy Garfield. The little girl wanted to cry. The clerk immediately opened the cabinet door and grabbed Garfield out. She stuffed it into the little girl’s arms.
Hope that the past is forever past.
Hope that the good will eventually come.