Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I heart Beijing

Beijing is such an amazing city; I'm so lucky to live here, even if it is only for a few months. Last weekend on Sunday, my friend Gabrielle and I went to this art district called "798". It's an area of factories-turned-art-galleries. We got really excited when we saw graffiti on the walls outside. Then we realized that it was State-sponsored graffiti. Oh China.

This superman was pretty sweet. It's funny though, instead of the usual "S" on his chest, it's the character "zhong" meaning China.

There was a guy playing the guitar while sitting on his bike. I think he was trying to sell his cd, but he kept playing the same song over and over.
A group of statues in a gallery made to look like a crowd.
The whole district was very industrial and artsy.

Some guy sleeping on the back of his bike. I see so many bikes like this in Beijing. They're usually hauling things like produce, bike parts, or lumber.

There were also a lot of fashion photo shoots going on here. Some were even taking wedding photos.A coal train station in the district. I'm not sure if it's still in use or not.

There was this giant water tank that had a bunch of (non-State-sponsored) graffiti. This one made me smile.

Yesterday, my friends who are taking a film-making class needed to go to the Hutongs to film people (i.e. me) exploring. It's so interesting that if you just bring a video camera into a random area, lots of people will come up and talk to you and even invite you into their homes. This one guy told us to come into his home, but when we walked into the coutyard, he was gone, so we didn't stay.
We walked down this one street where we found this strange building. It says "Kindergarten of Ministry of Finance". I know China's economy is growing fast, but really do we need to start them that young?

Right next to the kindergarten, we saw two men changing the lights outside this building. We asked them if we could go in and they said ok.
It turns out it's a pretty historic restaurant in Beijing. One of the guys who works there spoke English, so he gave us a tour. I like the bunny by the moon gate.
This restaurant serves Peking duck and tea, among other things I suppose. These doors are over 100 years old.
The restaurant used to be the Emperor's brother's house. This is a picture of him.
The guy who worked there said that 50 years ago, Mao gave them a whole bunch of money to redo the place. A lot of people ask to eat in this room because of that, I guess. I'm not sure if the guy giving us the tour owned the restaurant, but he said that if we come back he would give us a discount on the food. He also said that he would give us jobs if we were still here in the summer. Then he took a picture with us to post in their entrance.

As we were walking back to the subway, we came upon this park where a man was drawing calligraphy on the sidewalk with a brush and some water.

1 comment:

    that art district looks awesome