Songzhuang Artist Village

I figured I owe a picture of the magnificent marmalade that I made in conjunction with the candied kumquats for the cake yesterday. It looks so pretty, too. I’ve been eating it spread on bagels with cream cheese and on baguettes with butter (Why, yes, this is fattest panda speaking).

Noms. Kumquat marmalade with lemon juice and red chilies.

Tomb Sweeping Day afforded us a nice 5 day little holiday. Did I do anything exciting? Of course not. I mostly stayed in bed reading, decided on an apartment, and caught up on Game of Thrones and Mad Men.

On Wednesday, the lat day of relaxation, a friend and I decided to embark on a little adventure. We chose Songzhuang Artist Village as our destination, I guess it’s the next 798 or Caochangdi, or something.

We made lunch and called a cab (best to call ahead, the ride is an hour). The cabbie picked us up and we stopped briefly to pick up third person and off we were! The whole trip cost RMB 100, between 3-4 people it’s not too terrible, but there’s also apparently a bus (#808) from Guomao. After about 5 minutes driving on the highway through vast spaces of construction, empty apartment complexes and many KTVs (seriously, who lives out there? What do they do?) our cabbie dropped us off at the side of the road and we sort of meandered around little galleries and museums. Half of them were closed for Qingming, but we spent two hours wandering. The art wasn’t too exciting, and I tend to get bored of gallery perusing after about the first half hour, but it was a spectacularly clear and bright and warm day to spend outside.

One artist and his artist wife decided that we would sit down and eat sweet potato chips and drink green tea together for about forty minutes and talk about art. They were very nice. We were recommended a very cute little restaurant called Apple, but it wasn’t open until 5. Finally, we managed to extract ourselves, walked around a little more, tried t find the Songzhuang Museum, ended up wandering around the National Defense Artist Museum, then fortuitously grabbed a cab on its way back to Beijing.

It was a fun field trip, but I probably won’t be heading back any time soon. Caochangdi has more to offer and the art is more worthwhile, and 798 has much better art and since it’s been built up, boutiques and stores and trinkets to buy. Still, perhaps worth an afternoon just to see the place before it becomes a tourist trap.


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