Photos to share from my last week in Beijing.
The National Museum of Art 美术馆.
ZeFang, one of my teammates who attends college in the U.S., went to the museum with me and then we scoped out the numerous art supplies shops across the street. I was raving because the prices were so much more affordable than what you find in the U.S., aside from the European-imported paints and kits. I was really interested in buying a stone seal (you know, those carved square seals that you use with red ink), and ZeFang helped bargain and explain to these shopkeepers what I wanted. At another store, I snagged a Taiwanese travel-size watercolor kit for 68 RMB, along with postcard paper and a sketch pad. Of course after wanting to paint all semester, I find it my last full weekend.. but better late than never!
That evening I tested out the watercolors by making a happy birthday card for one of my friends. Not quite my forte, but I'm learning.
Fang Fang and I on Nanluoguxiang, the tourist hutong right next to where I live. Last Monday for our final English tutoring session became more like a sampling feast of all the snacks on the street! I gave her two Eric Carle childrens' books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?) as a late gift for her son's 2nd birthday. I hope I gave her the English practice and exposure she hoped for, because I'd love for her to pass the TOEFL next winter with flying colors.
I took a morning visit to the park behind the Forbidden City called Jingshan Park (景山公园). From the hill sits Wanchun Pavillion, and on a clear day the view is simply marvelous.
I never visited the Forbidden City Palace Museum (oops), yet that'll be for next visit ;).
I was there around 7:30 AM and staked out a good spot in the pavilion, set up my watercolors, and started painting the city. With the numerous halls and their dusty golden roofs, different angles of light, then trees poking in between, it actually proved to be a technical task. But I enjoy painting because it forces me to really see the details and try to produce what is there. A lot of park visitors stopped to look over my shoulder and see what I was doing, including a set of siblings. The girls were more cute and silly than nagging, asking me questions about painting and trying to grab my attention.
Their mom was so kind too; she took a photo of my painting when I was finished.
Musicians, or older folks squeaking arbitrarily on their erhus, taking respite in the pavilions.
Blooming rose gardens.
My bike, oh my best friend and main mode of transport. It was repaired by three various men throughout the month, this last one proving to be the most reliable and fair-priced. Typical condition of a bike purchased in China, though, you're always going to have to put as much in repairs as you what you initially paid.
Afternoon on a rooftop cafe two minutes down my hutong. The sky was gloriously clear so I had a great view of the Drum & Bell Towers.
Any excuse to break out the paints. These became thank you cards to my roommate and his girlfriend.
Long-retired bikes that hark to the Cultural Revolution era.
The building in the business park where I worked.
My colleagues and I went out for dinner together for Chonqing roasted fish, and we had to guzzle some Yanjing Beer (the old name for Beijing). It was this large grass carp that's grilled then braised with peppers, scallions, chives, and all these other vegetables to this smoky delight. I think it was the best fish I've had in China.
Then that Thursday night I went on a final bike cruise with a group called Big Dirty, which is sponsored by a Beijing bike shop Natooke. There's a fast group and a cruise-pace, which has been a fantastic way to ride to different areas of the city. Even though we start at 8:15, the streets are well-paved, well-lit, and it's a lot safer as a group-- it actually allows us to dictate traffic.
Well that was a fairly random display of photos, and I have a few more posts of images I want to share coming up :).