Beijing: Week 3

798 Art Zone, you had me at dinosaurs...

Weekends don't exist in Beijing. Not for me at least. So on Thursday and Friday I went exploring, organizing my own cultural excursions to be, you know, like, cultured.

First I went to the 798 Art Zone, an old factory area repurposed for art galleries and just the right amount of hipster nonsense. I basically just strolled it until I hit my steps for the day. I ate mediocre beef and noodles outside in a little alleyway cafe because the weather called for it.

It was a cute little adventure, full of art installations (dinosaurs, of course), but one that required a lot of walking from the Jiangtai subway stop. I guess I could have taken a car, but that didn't seem to fit with the bohemian vibe the 798 was striving to achieve. All in all, 798 Art Zone is worth an afternoon of wandering and shopping if that's your bag. I walked home empty handed.

798 Art Zone...scenes.

The next day I wanted to buy eucalyptus. A Google search came up with a few options for flower markets. I was looking for something like Columbia Road in London, and settled on the Laitai flower market. Apparently it's a thing here, minus the charm of Columbia Road. I took the subway and then walked passed the French embassy (should I have said hi?) towards the sizable indoor market. It felt more like a watered down Sam's club or Cosco, but I went with it. 

Lots of flowers, lots of plants, lots of oxygen. The market also has plenty of fish and small animals, should you be so inclined. I liked the place. It was like a giant greenhouse in the middle of Beijing. I breathed easy.

Spotted at t he Laitai Flower Market...

I went to buy my eucalyptus branches from a woman in the cut flower section. Be warned, there are no prices. Be doubly warned, you're supposed to haggle. I'll get used to it eventually, but that day I paid 70 yuan (some 9 euros) for a few branches of eucalyptus. Fool me once, China...

It's fun to play tourist in a new city, and Beijing is sure big enough to satisfy me for a while. I guess there are temples and walls I should add to my list soon. I'll just have to pry myself away from spending time with that eucalyptus. It was expensive. I want to make sure I get my money's worth out of it.