I found my way to the center and was approached by two English speaking Chinese. One was a professor of Art and taught painting and caligraphy. The other, his student, spoke very good English and explained they had a government sponsered art exhibition and would I like to see it…free. OK. It was watercolors and oil on silk. There were different mediums and different artists. They were students of the Art Professor. He also had work there. Most but not all of it was for sale. Ah Ha…now the truth comes out.
|Student Observing The Master|
Well when your traveling and you see something you like…you should just buy it. You may never see it again. I did, since my home is decorated in Oriental style with souveniers from around Asia…why not add some more. My only concern is lugging all those packages around and back to the US. I finally bought 4 pieces and they took credit cards. Then I saw an oriental nude that would go well in my bedroom so ended up buying that. I got my name done in Calligraphy which was free but then for $17 I could get it on a wall hanging with a red background…just like my home. In the end I think I spent close to $400.
Then the professor asked my plans and I replied tour the Forbidden City… I could be your guide for another $35. Sure why not. I remember having a personal guide in Istanbul and it really did enhance the experience. I actually learned something at the same time. OK we are off.
Two hours later we were departing the Forbidden City when he asked what are you going to do now. I mentioned I wanted to see the back alleys of the ancient part of Beijing…the Hutongs. He said we should catch bus 1 and did. We got off at the fourth stop which and walked through an area of the Hutongs that was far from Ancient. It was the 20th century version with wealthy people and underground parking for their Mercedes. He didn’t charge me for that and we returned for a rest and some water.
I left everything there and took the underground across the major thoroughfare to Tin’iman Square….took some photos then walked up the street to the Five Star Beijing Hotel and got a free map of Beijing with the subway map included. So far I had yet to see either map or tourist information available anywhere.
|WILL GET YOU|
I returned to the Art Show, picked up my paintings , and piled into the crammed subway to the transfer station and on to the final subway home. This time I decided to take a taxi to the apartment. He dropped me off and charged me $1.60…I was infuriated…no sorry…elated. I walked all that way this morning to save $1.60? I was mad at myself. Not tomorrow.