Day of Contrasts

After our morning lecture on Chinese Traditional Medicine, we went to the open market in town near the university. Produce vendors were selling a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs. (How many kinds of eggs can you identify?) Five large enclosed areas, similar to a U.S. flea market, had vendors selling everything from computers and cell phones to household supplies and religious icons. It was very crowded, yet orderly, without the usual aggressive sales techniques we’ve experienced other places. This place seemed to be for the locals, not the tourists.

Then, we took public transportation (adventure!) to the 798 Art District in downtown Beijing. Located alongside a former Soviet-style factory, this District has a variety of contemporary art galleries and boutiques. Much of the high-end art is similar to what one might see in the trendy art galleries in New York and San Francisco. Many people were dressed in upscale, stylish clothing.

The Art District has many lovely cafes and restaurants. We ended the evening at a wonderful Chinese restaurant (Aren’t all the restaurants in China actually Chinese!?). We had a private dining room and a range of delicious dishes – one of our best meals.

China’s emerging middle class highlights the contrast of this day. Perhaps the best way to describe the contrast is Mr. Dan’s lecture that morning: Yin/Yang of China.