I must be getting too old. After that long day at the Forbidden City, I thought I would be OK after a good night rest.
I woke up really late at 9AM and yet I was still dead tired. I decided to take it easy for the day. I decided to stick to indoors places. You know, places where there is air conditioning. I decided to go to the National Art Museum of China. I walked past it the previous day on the way to Wangfujing.
For breakfast, I went to the food court about 5 minutes walk from my hotel. It was a food court by the Guomao subway station. They have big floor to ceiling posters of their food plastered on the subway and I thought I go check it out. The food court was strangely located at the end of a deserted underground complex. There was nothing there except at the end of the corridor is the food court.
That food court was quite big. Only about three stalls were opened for breakfast. It was still early and they have not completely opened for lunch and dinner yet. I had half a mind of turning around but I did not know where else to go. I did not want to walk. I had enough of walking already the previous day!
I got the noodles above. The stall lady asked me if I want “la” which I thought she meant spicy. So I said yes, give me “la”. Turns out that she asked if I wanted pulled noodle. The noodles overall was OK. I like the noodles but did not care much for the so-so soup and beef slices. Like I said, the noodles in Beijing is much more tastier than those we have in Vancouver.
I also got this pancake thing. Do you consider this jianbing? The way they prepared it looks the same except that they added a … flat version of yutiao (Chinese donut) in between with some sweet sauce. And eggs too. I like that.
The stall owner was really friendly to me. She knew I was not local obviously. She asked that I try her home made yogurt. Am so glad I did.
All in all, the breakfast above was about $9.50 Canadian. Not cheap by Beijing standards. I was just comparing it to the 75 cents roadside breakfast I had the previous day.
After breakfast, I took the subway to the National Art Museum of China. It was easy to locate as you can’t miss the building. It is located just a stone throw away from the head office of the people I was working with the previous week. So I kind of know this area a bit better than the rest and I know my bearings here.
Entrance is free which you collect from the gate. The sign in English outside says that I need to show a passport to get in but I kept the passport in the safe in the hotel room. So I took the chance to show them my BC Driving License. I guess that worked even though I was not sure if they know what I was showing them. For all I care, I could have shown them my library card. They did not ask me any question and just passed me the entrance ticket.
I like this. It is free and it is air-conditioned …
… and there are lots of seats in the museum.
I was so excited seeing that they had a section on seal carvings in display. But there was a problem. You see, EVERYTHING here is in Chinese and in Chinese only. About the only thing that is in English is the sign to the toilet. What a bummer.
There were a lot of historical displays from recent history. It seems that the Chinese create a seal for every important occasion. And they keep the seals here. There were pictures of the seals used with US Presidents, Queen Elizabeth and so forth. I wish I could read Chinese!
Most of the seals are really beautiful. Not just the engravings but also the holders in many different shapes, sizes and materials. I fancy getting one of these made in my name. You know what honey, maybe next time we are in Beijing, we could get one done that says “Ben-Sue-Beijing-2011” or something like that.
I wanted to come here to learn about Chinese art and in particular Chinese painting. They are almost all in simplistic black and white ink painting, unlike the more illustrative western painting. Chinese paintings are almost like the extension to the art of calligraphy. You know, using just ink, brush and paper.
I noticed that their painting is hardly of people. There are some of animals (like horses) but mostly they are of scenes of hills and streams and trees.
Many of the paintings have poems on them. They are as important as the painting itself as it extends the meaning of it. Can someone help translate the words above?
Too bad I did not get much out of this visit. At least it is comfortable and cooling. Yeah, I wanted to sleep here but the girls watching over the gallery were all over the place. Anyway, it might not be a good idea because you know I sometimes (OK, fine … often) snores.
OK, how about this one? Can one of you translate this for me?
I sat there watching the little girl above sitting on a low stool, patiently reproduce one of the paintings. She was so sweet and her mum was watching and waiting from a distance. When the girl was done, the mum took a picture of her with her painting.
I had a closer look and indeed the work was really good for such a young girl. She was so sweet and polite when I told her that her drawing was very good. She said “xie xie” and skipped away with her mum.
So sweet. So beautiful. So talented.