789 Art District, Line and Balboa Dancing

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A photographer invited me to his salon in 789, the most famous art district in Beijing.  I have been long wanting to visit this place after countless expat’s recommendations.  789 was the name of the radio tube factory that is now abandoned.  Recent rising in the area revived this place into a distinctive art district exhibiting all sorts of unique art works.

I have to say, upon entrance, I wasn’t wholly impressed by what seemed to be just a few old buildings from the old communist era, especially when the photographer pointed out that those random chimneys (on the right picture) are some of the prime areas for wedding pictures.

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For starter, we followed a series of graffiti into the first row of the buildings

The first alley contained numerous film studios, salons, private art exhibits, and overpriced shops.

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Of course, the photographer’s salon is one of them.  It’s a huge room separated into several sections and a small attic.

Its foyer contains old Beijing picture, including the old Tian’Anmen with the portrait of Sun Dongsan instead of that of Mao’s now.

The real park starts…fun sculptures

Part of the factory buildings are still going through renovation, you could see those communist slogans painted in red on the ceiling.

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The main plaza

Notable sculptures next to the main plaza.

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One of many indoor art exhibitions in the park.

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Walking down the 789 street on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we saw quite a few wedding picture goers, among heaps of other interesting sculptures.

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One of the highlights in the park is this set of life-size Man and Woman contours made in solid steels.  People, especially couples, take turns to get in there, and no matter who’s in there, there are always tons of people taking their pictures.

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Of course, non-Asians who don’t usually fit are the hottest stock.

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What a great day to bike in the park.

One of the many modern styled coffee shops, attracting thousands of tourists everyday.

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Amid 789 ‘s popularity, another abandoned factory just next to it, 751, just opened more recently.  Since 751 is much newer, many of its facilities are yet renovated, so it still has this feel of urban rawness yet taken away by renovations, a heaven for photographers.

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They’ve build a pedestrian deck above the factory ground.  It looked like brand new.

Once we made our way up there, everything around this factory went under our eyes.

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The deck led to the back area of some of the factory buildings, now that looked complicated.

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Saw a couple exotic-looking foreigners walking around this empty area, they are definitely up for something.

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A model, her director, and a photographer.  The director tells the model what to pose.

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Another model putting the photographers hard at work.  We asked where they came from, they looked at us and said “Pakistan”.  Really?  Now, the model looked a bit too white to be a native Pakistani…..

Even I get some side benefit Smile

Sunday afternoon I went out and had spicy stir-fried wok.  You go to this restaurant, pick out your ingredients, and they will stir fry it with peppers in a huge wok.

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Girls’ line dancing show at CDBlues on Monday night

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Guess I was a little bit too hyper when filling out the luggage tag for my trip back to Texas.

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Ok, I know in China, line cutting is a notorious practice.  This goes the same with the traffic where tons of cars will cut those long lines.  I wasn’t scared until today, my bus went really close to the other cars in the turning lane and tried to cut between two bumper-to-bumper.  A huge bus cutting during the peak hours, anyone?

Wednesday night balboa dance class.  Reminded me of those days when I tried to learn bal.  Unfortunately we don’t practice bal in Texas, so I forgot my bal as fast as when I learned it.