The past few days have been a bit low key. I’ve picked up a bit of a cold and have been trying to shake it (I think I’m on my way back). We’ve had a variety of meetings and lectures – a lecture and tour at one of Beijing’s finest art academies, a lecture on Christian missions in China at a beautiful Jesuit center for Chinese language and culture, and a presentation at China Daily (China’s largest English language newspaper).
Yesterday morning was spent at a huge weekend “antiques” market. I use “antiques” because it is dubious whether much of the merchandise is really antique despite claims made by sellers. We were told that you can be almost certain that whatever you buy is some kind of reproduction. No worries though because I’m not in the market for antiques anyway. I did by some interesting propaganda posters, mostly reprints but a couple of “originals.” They could have been (it’s more likely than finding a real Ming vase) and I paid a bit more, but I’m not counting on it. I really wanted a Deng Xiaoping poster and they were very hard to find. Of course, Mao posters were ubiquitous.
In the afternoon a few of us went over to Behai Park which is right across from our hotel. We hadn’t gone there till yesterday because it has an entrance fee. Little did we know what we had been missing! It is a beautiful park with a huge lake and in the south end a large Tibetan style stupa. We rented a paddle boat and enjoyed the cooling breezes (it was very hot). Here are some pictures.
Today we go on our home stay with our host families in Beijing. I’m excited but a little nervous. Tomorrow we have some more lectures and are off to Xian by overnight train. So, I won’t have internet for a few days and maybe longer depending on the hotel in Xian. So, don’t worry if you don’t see an update for some days.