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China

Beijing

Had a wonderful, surprising, fast-paced, eye-opening, thought-provoking, unexpected and exciting time in Beijing. So short of time to be there. At one moment I am feeling sad to leave so quickly but at the next moment I think I need time away to process what I saw and learned so I can make the most of it. We saw some old friends and made many new ones.

So many new sights, thoughts and ideas that I cannot seem to stream any together. So I will give you some snapshots.

The worn knobs on the numerous gates at the Forbidden City. The prayers of the elderly as they stroked the gate.

The parasols and gloves.

The old men playing games on the wall at the Temple of Heaven.

Little babies with splits up the back of the trousers and no diapers.

The fighting dragons.

The food.

The Happy campaign signs and bright yellow t-shirts.

The man with the bleeding head fighting with the ladies in the emergency room.

The numerous Lambourgines and the Rolls Royces.

Nai Nai (grandmother) with her consistent smile even though she has a back hunched from being beaten when she was younger.

The immense, funky, old munitions factory, the arts community -798, and the profound art it contains. A place that was squatted by artists and begins to grow in reputation as the place to be.

The young Pakistani refugee that had seen way too much death in his short life and waits, hopefully, for his visa to the U.S. while his friends are sent back to Pakistan to die after being refused their visa. Brings of memories of apathy and anger towards asylum seekers in Britain, U.S., and Australia.

The creative bicycles and scooters.

The stories of plans for uniting families in the countryside.

Beijing is truly and engaging city. So many stories of happiness or sorrow, greed or generosity. I suppose anywhere there are so many people in one place you will see both extremes.

One artist shared a term he had come up with called “urbanity”. The jostle of Urban and humanity. The humanity being the greatest joy and the most piercing sorrow of the urban environment.

There are some places in the world that take all your senses and percieved wisdom and place them in a whirlwind. A place where the words mundane and boring are forbidden. Beijing is such a place.

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