Year 2004. Wandering around Beijing while there during a professional assignment. I visited the Great Wall in Badaling area in 2004 and on the way back I asked the driver, assigned by the company, to take me back not by highways but from countryside roads because I wanted to see the real China. He did it but on its own interpretation. Due to communication difficulties he did not really understood I wanted to see the villages, the fields, the areas where the peasants were living to imagine the little Red Book times of Chairman Mao. Instead he took me back by driving in secondary roads but through already modern towns. I learnt later, with a proper interpreter, he could not believe I came from so far to see feudal life… in his imagination a tourist travels to see wonders, skyscrapers, modern buildings with glass, plastic and aluminium, take pictures in front of great buildings, museus, statues, etc, etc. In short to see the China he was proud of, not the China his parents were maybe proud of.
This picture is the result of my mood, after all, and taken when approaching the ring of mountains that surrounds Beijing and make it unbreathable due to the poor air circulation caused by these walls.