Our weekend started with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a Taoist temple that was used for worship during Imperial times. Today, the temple is a design and structural anomaly – not one nail was used to build the temple. The entire temple complex is housed in a beautiful park where people gather to hang out, play music, and dance. Adam and Sterling broke out their guitars and drew quite an audience with crowd pleasers like “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude.”
After lunch, it was time to practice our bargaining skills at the antique market (Panjiayuan). While you would need days to make it through the countless aisles of jewelry, furniture, instruments, clothing, and other assorted knick knacks, Groton students were able to purchase many bargained for items in the hour we spent there, thanks in part to the bargaining lexicon lesson we got from Brantley.
Continuing on the culture trail, the latter half of the afternoon was spent at Dashanzi 798, the sprawling art complex that has become the face of the burgeoning Chinese art market. Students had time to explore the dozens of art galleries that are housed in what were once an industrial neighborhood. Seeing Dashanzi, it’s hard to believe that not very long ago there was no art scene in China. Innovation in China happens so fast!
On our way to the Beijing Opera, we stopped for what is called a “light” dinner in China – i.e. a large bowl of noodles. We then dashed off to the Beijing Opera for a whimsical performance that combined music, dance, acrobatics, and pantomiming.
Zai Jian (goodbye) for now!