Unlike in Germany, where car horns are mostly used to remind other drivers of what’s right or wrong, on the curvy, often one or two-laned streets of Jamaica, horns are used to signal to potentially oncoming cars that you’re about to round the bend. Despite the 6 million licensed private automobiles in Beijing, you rarely hear the familiar concert of horns, giving the impression that all the dense traffic still flows like water, however slowly. These broad, densely trafficked streets usher you past gigantic buildings for minutes at a time. If you make the effort to call upon one of the remaining traditional neighbourhoods, you may find a place to recover from the noise of the traffic and the fumes. These quarters, surrounded by large streets, are structured like chess boards with narrow alleys that only allow one car at a time to roll through at walking pace. Throughout these single-storey neighbourhoods, there are small stores that only ply the most necessary everyday commodities. It seemed strange to us that there should be only one strain of apple in Beijing, but we missed out on investigating this further. In one of these quarters, we came across a small Buddhist temple that happened to be one of the few surviving Ming dynasty temples in Beijing. At this secluded temple, the monks perform instrumental music in quintets twice daily and with the utmost concentration. The songs have been passed down unchanged from each generation of monks to the next, and at the time this genealogy had already spanned 27 generations.

22.10.2016, Beijing