Thursday, May 25, 2017
Beijing May 13, 2017 798 Art Zone
Art and Kitsch are the words of the day. Mr. Hong and Jack picked me up at 8a.m. and we were off to the Dashan area to see the art and shops in an old Bauhaus influenced former munitions factory from the 50's. #798 is the address of this very large compound. It's like Vancouvers Granville Island x 100.
I'm hoping to go to the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art and the Yan Club Art Center which both showcase the cream of Beijing's art scene as well as see some graffiti and abstract art. I probably won't be able to take photos in the galleries.
We arrived there about 8:30a.m. and Mr. Hong dropped Jack and I off on a street with graffiti on both sides and it was really cool to walk along and see so much of it all at once. I couldn't get pictures of them all because the sun was on the one side. We walked and walked and walked. And I gawked and gawked and gawked. It was sooooo cool. And I rested every chance I got to people watch while seated on the little collapsible seat that I had brought with me. I saw lots of artists scurrying around and I could tell they were artists because they were......well, very artsy looking but I didn't take any pics of them as I felt it would have been invasive and rude to do so. But they were very cool with their clothing, hair colours and styles. Many of the shops weren't even open yet but there was enough to see by peering into windows as well as outside art to satisfy me. I guess i'm a rough art sort of person.....I don't really like fine art scenery and i totally dislike oil paintings. I don't even like most Chinese art that's done with ink. Maybe you know that I don't just look for painted art; i'm always looking for art supply of all sorts and in this sense I mean photo ops for digital art such as drainage covers, cracks in cement, unusual bark or leaves, words, shop names, anything weird or unusual in closeups. It's ok, Jack also had a hard time trying to figure me out. I also love numbers and found lots on buildings and on cement sidewalks and posts and some had both English and Chinese characters on them and they were an awesome find. By noon it became so hot in between sudden gusts of wind and i was quickly becoming plum pooped out. It must have been over 3oºC. by then but it was lucky that we went that day because the forecast for the next day was 37º and i know i couldn't easily handle that kind of heat so we forged on. All good things must come to an end and it did for me by 2p.m. We stopped to admire an old steam engine train and beside it was an outdoor restaurant with seats in the shade. I love trains and especially old steam engines so it was cool to find this one on display. So i had a mango smoothie and Jack ordered a vanilla shake and we sat for awhile people watching and chatting. Wish i would have taken a pic of my smoothie as it was uber cool with a very fat straw to accommodate all the fresh chunks of mango. I was also glad we chose to stop there as the place had regular toilets while all the others i had seen on the site were squatters. We eventually had to start out again making our way through the maze of streets and when we reached a certain spot Jack phoned Mr. Hong and he was able to drive in and pick us up a few minutes later without having to pay for a visit or for parking in there and that saved us from a longer trek in the stifling heat.
Back at the hotel i started packing up my clothes and stuff to get a few things done before i go to the buffet for dinner. Tomorrow will be a long day with my flight at 3:30pm. Beijing time and then when i land in Vancouver it'll be 11a.m. on the same day so i get to live the same day twice! How cool is that?
Or should i say how tiring is that? lol.....
Ok here's some of what i saw at the 789 Art Zone which btw in 2003 was awarded "one of the top 22 most famous landmarks throughout the world" by Time Magazine.
Me at the end of a very long but interesting and fun day
Thanks for joining me on my visit to Beijing. You really should go someday; there's so much to see and do here even at the airport!