This is a period of very heavy smog, and it had been so beautiful previously and it is turning quite cold now as well. I had a lovely bike ride the other day down the side of moon river for a few miles and all the trees were shedding their leaves it was lovely, I also recently went by bus to a very old Muslim area which was great to walk around in spite of all the stares, but i did get a few nice replies to my hellos as i was taking photos.
We had a strange "coincidence" the other day we had just got in to the lift to go back up to our apartment when this woman asked if it was ok to get in with her dog and we said of course she then gave us some Sharon fruit and said she was visiting a friend in our block, and i was thinking your face looks familiar. Anyway 2 days later we are walking around the complex gardens and we met her again and thanked her for the fruit and we got talking, she had been a English teacher and was also a musician and she said her husband was a professional photographer bur specialised in doing collodian photography ( that's working with large glass wet plates). Then the penny dropped and i said were you and your husband in Beihai in 2011 doing photography on the beach, Beihai is a beach resort about 200km from Beijing that Jun and I and some of her friends visited for a weekend, then the penny dropped for her. I had spotted her stood at the waters edge in a old Chinese wedding dress and took some photographs of her then introduced myself and she took us to meet her husband who had a 4x4 parked at the side of the beach with a portable darkroom on the back and doing these amazing photographs of her and the beach area, He was the first person in mainland China to work with collodian plates and is currently studying for his Masters. So we ended up going back to their apartment in the same complex as ours and looking at some more of his work and he is showing an exhibition in Beijing next week that we are invited to, amazing eh.
We took a train journey me Jun and our niece Nui-nui the other weekend (which we nearly missed after getting lost in the car trying to find the station) the journey was nearly 3 hours up in to the mountains north of Beijing. We got off at this old town called Xing Long had a good look around but not to much to see and very busy with constant honking of horns. So we had something to eat and then got a taxi out of the town and got him to drop us off by the hills and we walked up to visit a village, we had some good chats with some of the villagers who to say the least were quite suprised to see a foreigner in their village and showing an interest in their life.Nui-nui spent time playing with local children knocking fruit off the trees, It was a really good day and i got some good images. But the train was really packed on the way back with people coming back to Beijing to work after the weekend lots of pushing and pulling and we had to turn people out of our seats.
Last Saturday we went to a large local market in a run down area and got stuck in a big traffic jam,everything was for sale live fish, chickens, goats,dogs though thankfully they were for sale as pets ( I think), an amazing amount of fruit and vegetables all really cheap, and just about anything else you can think of. On Sunday we went down in to the centre of Beijing and visited The National Art Gallery there were some amazing paintings on display especially one exhibition called The People of China. After we had a long walk through various Hutongs stopping off at a small eating place that Jun knows that serves food from the South West of China and specialises in spicy meals....very nice. Most of the houses in the Hutongs are still very basic with shared toilets, washing hanging outside etc I really like walking around them, and occasionally you come across one or maybe two together converted in to luxury houses that are worth millions.