798 Art District

Living for the weekend! The weekly pattern is quickly settling into: cram as much as you can into the weekends, because lord knows nothing is going to happen on the weekdays besides class and homework. Therefore: This is mostly a photo-post of my weekend.

On Friday, me and my roommates met a new friend for dinner. I met Myra at the program mixer last Saturday. As we are foreigners with no idea of where to go for good food, we asked her to recommend one of her favorites. Same goes for the cuisine, so we asked her to just order some of her favorites. So to add to my tally of strange foods I’ve only tried because of my strange conviction to try basically anything, I’ve now had: frog, eel, blood. The frog was strangely delicious– it actually, literally kind of tasted like chicken. The eel was interesting, because I’ve never had it outside of sushi– it was like a very substantive, chewy pasta. The blood was another story: It was not liquid. It looked like a dark piece of tofu (I’m not drinking blood and turning into a vampire). I took one piece, but I can’t say I’ll ever go there again. Yet again, oh my pride…

Myra and Grace! (photo credit: Zoe)
Me and Zoe
The frog dish
Eel and vermicelli-- spicy good!
Serious damage to be done. Delicious meal.

On Saturday, we had another program-wide trip, this time to the 798 Art District.

Outside the 798 art district (photo credit: Cicily)
Zoe, Cicily and me
Sun salutations. Sort of.
Serious face is not serious. No can do.
An art installation with a constant line of people to take pictures. Everything fit but Zoe's hair!
"Grace, pose! ...Oh, that's cute..."
I'm still not sure why so many of them were so enormously fat.
Crazy-sideways-baby version of crazy-fat-people.
Dusty crazy-fat-woman, heavily commented on. (literally no pun intended! sorry!)
Small child sitting on one of the wolves. There had to be a hundred of these wolves in the middle of an open square. Many of them were being used as a jungle gym by children. Zoe took blatant shots of all of the adorable kids, I could not muster the nerve. (photo credit: Zoe)
Grr.
Random shots walking around.
This was an art installation called "Happy New Year"

A building covered in pipes.


Yet another montage of the details. Indulge me.


The way they play with characters here is intriguing to me. I’ve always analyzed and played around with letterforms, but this is something completely different and new.


Saturday night we came back to a nice surprise at the apartment: Shi Wei said she and Chen Laoshi were making dinner and asked if we wanted to eat with them. We had a nice meal, and then a very long conversation about American/ Chinese cultural differences. Next semester, Chen Laoshi will be teaching Chinese in Minnesota, and Shi Wei will be teaching at AU, but Chen laoshi has already visited the states. She thought that one of the most surprising things about the states was the super friendly relationship between boys and girls. She found it incredibly surprising and strange that most of my friends are guys.

On Sunday, Zoe introduced me to bargaining at the silk market. She warned me beforehand, but the amount of stuff and the number of people there were absolutely overwhelming. The people who work the shops are incredibly forward, and very pushy (if not aggressive). Lessons learned: 1) Look at what you want to, and pretend you can’t hear them. 2) Walk with someone to hold their arm, lest you get physically pulled into a shop. 3) If you walk down one aisle, and later walk down the same aisle, they’ll all remember you. 4) The initial price is always, always, at least 4-5 times higher than what they’ll happily sell it for. 5) If you walk away, they’ll give you the real price. 6) I am a terrible bargainer. 7) 6 is forgiveable, because Zoe is a master, but 8) I can never go alone.

Sunday night, we met two new Chinese friends for dinner. All of the Chinese friends I’ve met like to be called by their chosen English name– so we had dinner with Major and Abigail. Their English was not as strong as Myra’s, so I was very pleased to find how much easier I’m finding it to understand Chinese speakers, and also to respond.

Sorry for the haphazard post, quick post! Thanks for keeping up with me here, and as always I love to hear from everybody! Everyone have a great week!