When I go to Beijing, China in the summer to teach a course in business writing for American audiences, I arrive as planned on a Saturday but with little fanfare. I meet the first class on Monday full of jet-lag and improve greatly for the second class on Wednesday. Then I have a four-day weekend looming. Since I've seen all the big sites of Beijing, this first weekend I decided to check out a few small places I found on my map.
|East end of the long, long park.|
Finally I got myself ready, thinking I could at least go to the nearest McDonald's for lunch, something to do. I'm not a regular of McD back home but when in foreign countries it provides a brief semblance of normalcy. So I checked my official Beijing 2008 Olympics map, which had all the McDs marked for advertising purposes, and decided to try a route that would take me to a different McD which I had never visited. I left my hotel, crossed the big avenue, and ducked into the park that ran parallel to the avenue. That was the Yuan Dynasty ruins.
|West end pavilion.|
At the west end there was an expanded area with statues of Yuan Dynasty people in all their finery, of modern construction but still interesting. They stood on top of a pavilion, just as real may have done at that spot a long time ago. As a writer, trying to create fictitious or historical settings, I find being at the site of ancient things to be fascinating. Like, did those people long ago ever imagine that some tourist teacher from American would one day be wiping his sweaty brow while standing on their pavilion? Probably not. More important things to plan for. But the location did make for nice photos. I always like to contrast old and new in the same picture: the existential theme of the impermanence of permanence. Here and gone. Like the wind.
|A modern depiction of those Yuan folks!|
|Public flower pots along busy avenue!|
|Bus stop. I don't trust buses because I don;t know where they go.|
NEXT: The 798 Art Zone
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