Our trip to the 798 Beijing Art District was definitely one of the highlights of my three weeks in Beijing. The Beijing art is an area of the city reserved solely for Chinese artists and craftsmen to display and sell their work, as well as sell Chinese souvenirs and an assortment of different foods. Not only is it fantastic that a city has a hub for artists like the 798—something all cities should have—but it gave us foreigners a glimpse at traditional, as well as modern Chinese art, culture, and thought. It was definitely a unique opportunity to experience that much culture and creativity in a single district of the city, and it is a place I would definitely return to.
Examples of artwork seen at the art district:
Another interesting day trip was to the Beijing Silk Market—a shopping center selling a huge assortment of different clothing, jewelry, artwork, traditional Chinese souvenirs, and different foods. While the contents of the mall are almost all name-brand and high-end, they’re also almost all fake. Because of this, going to the market was the perfect place to practice our Chinese language and bargaining skills—using all the words we know to try to get the price down as low as possible. Because the Silk Market is usually visited solely by foreigners—whose Chinese skills aren’t great—the shops are designed to trick and overcharge who don’t know the difference. While the items sold by the shops were many of the same things we would see at a shopping center in the states, it was an experience vastly different than any we could ever have in the U.S.
Overall, it was a a great weekend!