Saturday, May 12, 2007

Standing its Ground

Today I wandered along Wangfujing Street, which is near Tiananmen Square. It's a shopping strip where locals and tourists alike hang out. There are many official Olympics souvenir shops, department stores, small shops selling silk, tea, chopsticks, clothing and shoes. And if you don't have enough money, there's always an ATM nearby.

Further down the street is a giant shopping mall in the midst of renovation, recreating itself into a modern glass building complete with a giant screen for people to watch the Olympic games in real time next summer.

But just across the street from the construction site is a beautiful old church. Inside the Eastern Catholic Church, there are high vaulted ceilings illuminated by a number of chandeliers, and wooden pews with red velvet worn cushions. A handful of people were in there praying or reading the Bible, but most were curious onlookers like myself.

Unfortunately it wasn't a silent and enlightening experience -- you could hear skateboarders doing their tricks on the large flat slate area outside the church.

Since when did religion and skating mix?

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