This morning we had a lecture by Professor Ding Ning; we had an opportunity to learn about different forms of painting and other parts of culture. The class itself was 2 hours 30 minutes, and it was pretty interesting. I’m not a big art person at all, so it was not too entirely fascinating to me, but some very interesting paints were presented. Quite a few symbols were explained too. For example, if you dream you are a butterfly, you are in a state similar to that of a philosophers. Boats symbolize longevity - actually, almost everything symbolizes longevity.
Anyway, it was pretty interesting. We are going to the Beijing Capital Museum tomorrow to see more more historical art pieces. It’ll be more up close and personal, as opposed to a Powerpoint presentation, so I am looking forward to that.
But after class, a group of friends and I went to Wangfujing. I remember coming here last summer and I really enjoyed it. There’s an entire story behind Wangfujing, how it was the prince’s (something), or something like that. Fast forward to 2012 (well, recent times), and it’s a magnificent area to shop and look around. There were plenty of malls, small stores, and clothing stores. The street itself is pretty long, it was no quick trip to go from one end to the other. It was pretty crowded, and yes, it is a tourist attraction.
We went into a chopstick store, which was kind of interesting. They had sets for 100RMB, up to 700RMB, up to 1500RMB, up to 7000+RMB. These chopsticks were made from different woods and metals, I guess some sort of near-extinct tree or something. But yeah, there was a set going for over 7000RMB, which is well over 1000 US Dollars - all for a few pairs of chopsticks.
Other than that, we pretty much looked at the malls. There was really nothing that we wanted/could buy that we couldn’t get for cheaper in the States. There was a Sephora, Gap, Nike, etc. I mean it’s cool to take a look at what styles they have (actually, we didn’t go in to Sephora or Gap, just Nike), but we didn’t want to really buy anything. I mean a Nike t-shirt was going to run me around 30USD (180RMB), and that’s just a no-no for me. Definitely cheaper in the States.
After parading up and down Wangfujing, we stopped by the Night Market/Snack Street or whatever. Here is the tourist/foreigner-renowned area to find scorpions, seahorses, and starfish. My friends got some of the famous lamb skewers, which seemed to satisfy their taste buds.
I’ve got to say, this place was definitely fun. There was one part along here where we could buy small toys/gadgets, very souvenir like items. I got to haggle the price down for a few objects; using my Chinese, I helped my friends haggle too. There were these small poster scroll things that were originally priced at like 80. We managed to get a few for like 40 a person. Not too bad (though in retrospect, it’s a bit pricey…). Talked a key chain down from like 15 a piece to 5 a piece. Haggling is a fun process, especially when you speak well, and without a clear accent. Some of the vendors are really nice and chill to talk to, although they will constantly try to sell you something. I can accept that - they have to make money somehow. But it was nice having some conversations with some of them. I will be making another visit to pick up some items, however.
For my picture captioned “Some store along Wangfujing”, this was actually some poor man and woman dressed up as such to promote a free drink promotion. It was a cup of soda on the 3rd floor. I was lucky enough to snag a picture with them; a few others wanted pictures but got turned down, unfortunately. But I mean it doesn’t seem like a very exciting job. It was some grocery store with some sale going on with free drinks to get people inside. But hell, it worked - the five of us went inside to get our free drink, with one of our group buying two things.
Once again, I had a great dinner/night. My two cousins and in-law and I went out for dinner. My older cousin had a place in mind. She lives in Beijing with her husband, my in-law, so she’s pretty familiar with the place. We went to some pizza place (Tube something) and they served “The Largest Pizza in Beijing”. It pretty believable. The back-story behind this pizza place is that a white guy was studying at Peking University. The Pizza Huts and Papa Johns here are a rather traditional style of pizzas. Well, I wouldn’t say traditional per se, but it’s not the average pepperoni + cheese + crust we’re used to. Their crusts are a bit different. But anyway, this guy opened his restaurant to cook only American-style pizza, and hey, seems pretty successful.
The pizza we got was a medium. It wasn’t a large or an XL, but rather a medium. The pizza was huge. I put a plate next to it, along with my normal sized utensils - fork and knife. Oh man, it was great. Hawaiian BBQ + the special. Not a bad price, not a bad meal. Good times. Spent over an hour talking with my cousins and in-law there, just sitting and chilling.
Ok, it’s nearing 12AM (well, it’s past that now). I will post more later that aren’t just day-recaps and hopefully they will be interesting. For now, I’m really tired and I will be headed off to shower and then sleep!