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  • Writer's pictureElena Stoeva

Beijing China, Day 18 - Plein Air 6 and Dumpling Party

I headed out to the park late today as I was afraid it would be too hot again. I was there at 4 and the park closing was at 6:30.

I lucked out on the weather! I had never felt so not hot!

I went to the same rocks but on the opposite side of the lake. It is helpful to be on the rocks and I have more surface I can use as a table to lay my things.

A took a Didi on the way there and Didi on the way back, as I didn't have much time to paint. I was afraid I may get the wet paint on the car interior, but with some acrobatic tricks I was able to save it. And of course, it is the first time the door on my side was broken and it was hard to keep it open while I was getting in and out.

I took a quick shower and headed out to meet Becca in town for a dumpling party, organized by the Artists in Residence Group here. I found out later this is a non profit organization, offering sponsorships to various artists. And the person in charge was a girl from New York City!

The party was real fun, everyone was making different dumplings, while a couple of guys were running from the work room to the kitchen to boil them. So there was a continuous flow of fresh dumplings 🥟. A presentation followed, explaining what the organization does and wants - donations. I made my contribution and received 3 small magazines in exchange designed by participating artists. I can’t wait to read them!

The best part about the party were the people. Everyone was super easy going and fun to hang out. Everyone talked to everyone and very openly about their lives in Beijing. I didn’t realized how many Americans have permanently relocated to Beijing. I exchanged my WeChat with a few people and got invited to a studio visit by a team of clothing designers. I am excited to go on Monday.

People hanging out in the yard:

Since Becca is leaving soon, I will have a week on my own and need to find someone to hang out with. Which proves to be not so difficult so far!

I had a funny local guy, Shaotong talk to me that night about the bathroom monster. I needed to use the bathroom and told Becca to check on me if I don’t return in 20 minutes. The party was in a Hutong so there were shared bathrooms out on the street. There are bathrooms pretty much every 20 meters when you walk.

When Shaotong heard that I was headed to the bathroom, he told me about a bathroom monster movie he'd seen. I didn’t hear half of what he said as it was too noisy, but basically, there is a huge fat guy who looks like a baby, hairless, and is hiding in the public toilets. A man walks in to pee and he opens the door, sees the huge baby 👶 looking guy and before he is able to run away, he gets eaten by him.

I wasn’t afraid exactly of this, but now you got me thinking!

Shaotong was the only non artist at the party. He was a financial analyst who liked hanging out with artist.

The party ended at 10:30, because of the Hutong neighbors. The feeling about being part of a community is very strong here, all the neighbors know each other, play games together or just stand in front of their homes and chat. Becca and I headed out to walk around town and get some ice-cream. The town was alive. Every one was out on the streets, eating, drinking, talking, walking and heaving fun. People seem so happy. I haven’t seen any fights yet. Even with the ridiculous traffic. All they do is honk if they get mad.

And lots of small clothing/ shoe/ anything stores are open 24 hrs. You feel like it is daytime as there is tons happening.

There was a long wait for Didi this time, but we made it home 🏠 . Maybe a 30 minutes ride to ring 5, which is, as I found out, not the trendy area to live in. All Becca’s friends live up to ring 3. And most have never taken a bus before.

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