It was my fifth trip, so I avoided the high touristy stuff during my free time and struck out in search of new sites. I have another new favorite cafe, which unfortunately has not made it's way to Shanghai yet--it's called The Bookworm and, as you may guess, the walls are lined with thousands of used books, the speakers spout out jazz, and cool people abound. They also had books for sale, which I couldn't resist. (I bought two and gently crammed them into my suitcase.)
I also took a walk through 798, Beijing's art district, and realized that walking around looking at art isn't really my thing. I'd rather have it hanging on my wall, I suppose, or go to a museum where the bad stuff has been weeded out. That same day I took photos in one of the hutongs, old communities made of brick houses traditionally with their own courtyards. These places are quickly disappearing as the city bulldozes them, which is unfortunate. The sense of community and history there is obvious.
While roaming around I found a great little shop called Lost & Found. They had some great simple, beautiful items including a great heavy ceramic mug, which, at the time I decided not to buy. I then went to the other side of town and later, because I couldn't stop thinking about it returned to purchase it. It was way out of my way, but I stand by my decision.
Without further ado...here are my pics from the week (one of the mug to come at a later date.)
First, the art district.
See. I went to an art district and ended up taking pictures just outside of it of old trains, coal, and machinery.
We did take a train to Beijing (and back), but thankfully, it wasn't this old. Actually, I think the pillow was.
I didn't do any research on it, but I gather that the art area was formerly an industrial/warehouse area, hence the smoke stack. Here you see the only photo I took with any art in it.
Second, the hutong. (Full disclosure, I went to the hutong first, but it's too hard moving photos around blogspot.
As I was posting these, I realized that I took a lot of pictures of bikes...in Beijing...go figure.
I sort of followed a guy into the middle of one of the enclaves. Most of the doors are closed and you can't get in this close. I'm sure most residents are tired of photographers, so I tried not to be intrusive.
I took a lot more pictures of doors, but I decided to spare you. You are welcome (Puckey.)
The End...which is actually the beginning.