Trekking on the Great Wall

Had a wonderful time yesterday, spent 5 hours trekking/climbing the great wall from Jianshanling to Simatai (about 10 km’s)… fabulous…. once I ‘lost’ the large group of ‘loud’ well meaning women in red T-shirts … ‘Doing the Challenge’ for medical research (with ‘porters’ to carry their bags, jackets, water, food?!!!!!) …. I really enjoyed myself… chatting to the local ‘farmers’ who now generate income from selling ‘drinks’ to the tourists (warm beer at 10am???) …. wandering along…. taking photos….

Those of you who know me well, know I am terrified of heights (have trouble on a step ladder)…. hate ‘going fast’ … hate ‘falling down’…. so you will understand how brave I was to ‘DECEND’ the wall via a ‘flying fox’….. approx 1km from the top of a mountain, over a transparent blue lake to a little boat which took me to my final destination… (my knees were literally shaking as I waited for my ‘turn’)….. and, it was OK….. I was really proud of myself…. besides I think I already had blisters on the soles of my feet and would have found the final steep decent via the stone steps ‘difficult”….

Bumped into a rather entrepreneurial friend who I met last year in Pingyao…. he, ‘Jack’ owns a string of youth hostels and restaurants (1 Pingyao, 2 Xi’an, 2 Beijing)… we were both standing in a Sinopetrolium service station in Miyun (sort of like meeting in a service station in Goulburn) serendipity… He is opening a new hostel, just off the main shopping mall in Beijing…. (I did some artwork for him in Pingyao) …. so he took me to dinner and we are meeting at the hostel this afternoon…. he is very keen to create a sophisticated ‘atmosphere’ and wants to use large prints of my images in the ‘fit out’….?! ….So that’s exciting…..

Oh, I have an exhibition of my work (as a part of a group show) next Tuesday evening at the Artist ‘Commune’ in BeiGao (Shangri-la)

Changing Face, the Hutongs

Absolutely beautiful autumn day here in Beijing (I think they will be able to ‘do’ the Olympics) clear blue sky, crisp fresh air…. this is , of course due to the CPC – Chinese Peoples Congress – a five yearly meeting of thousands of delegates from all over China (many in traditional dress) – spectacular, powerful, impressive….

Spent yesterday wandering around the ‘Hutongs’ large white Chinese characters roughly painted on the walls…. demolish!

The Chinese are true ‘squatters’…. the paths between ruined houses have been swept, broken walls, bricked up, plastic sheets hang over smashed roofs… and the power has been rigged up again…. clean washing hangs to dry amid the rubble…

(Oh, and the people are angry…. pointing and shouting and asking me to take photos)

Settling into Tuanjiehue

I’ve settled into my apartment in Beijing its in an older undeveloped part of town called Tuanjiehu in Chaoyang district, the apartment is on the 4th floor of a Chinese block… there are little wooden stools and bicycles and hand made stick brooms on the landings… the lights are sound sensitive so you can hear as each person ‘stamps’ on the landings on the way up and down the concrete stairs.

Its sunny and light… overlooking a quite street lined with birch trees and providing passage for a steady stream of bicycles and carts and taxis, the sound of hawkers ‘calling’ or pedestrians laughing or the military marching drifts upwards…

I have everything a girl could need within walking distance… to the east at the end of the block a bank, across the road to Jingkelong Supermarket and a small local fresh food market, opposite a Chinese department store next to the post office… further to the north beside Chaoyang park, Jenny Lou’s for those that crave white bread, fresh milk and cheese, its shelves lined with comfortingly familiar international ‘brands’… to the west Beijing Roast Duck THE best Peking duck restaurant in China!

The 115 bus takes you to the circle line or line 5 subway stations or on towards the National Gallery, the 402 takes you north east to Factory 798 (the ‘contemporary’ arts precinct) the 420 to CAFA, the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts, while the 43 takes you on a round about route southwards which eventually passes Red Gate Gallery and the Beijing Railway Station. (This of course was discovered after a little trial and error)

I’m being very well looked after by Brian Wallace from Red Gate Gallery, a welcome dinner on Thursday Night and Gallery opening on Friday… he is currently ‘hosting’ a dozen artists from across the world, so conversations are guaranteed to be lively.

Off to Factory 798 tomorrow, to have a look at Art Beijing 2007 – that should take most of the day cos there are literally hundreds of galleries and artist studios to visit…. then I’m going to buy some rice paper, ink and brushes, wood cutting tools and some nice soft wood (to carve)…

Newcastle Disaster

The Pasha Bulker grounded on Nobbys Beach Newcastle during violent storms in June 2007.