Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Artistic, or a Pimple to Pop?

Monday morning; I'm going to be productive.  No sleeping in, I'm going out to check some things off my list of things to do in Beijing.  First, I'll go to the Captial Museum, and then I go to a temple reached from the same subway stop, so it must be near.  

Well, I had good intentions, anyhow.  I found the museum without too much trouble; it was a huge piece of modern art in itself, so it would be hard to miss.  Unfortunately, finding out how to enter it was nowhere near as straight-forward.  After wandering around three sides of the massive place and having a confusing conversation with someone who spoke no English at all, and with whom what Chinese I speak wasn't useful, I finally came to the conclusion that it must be closed on Mondays.  Oh well. 

However, I was now cold and my mood of exploration was waning fast.  So, across the street to McDonalds, for some chicken nuggets that tasted of cardboard; well, wet cardboard since I did at least manage to procure sufficient ketchup, and a pineapple pie, which was surprisingly good.  No apple pies here--they have pineapple and taro. I ate slowly and finished my book.  

So that I could say the day wasn't a total waste, sight-seeing wise, I planned a route to walk by the new performing arts center--it is called "the egg", and it's a vast glass dome, surrounded by a moat.  According to Lonely Planet, some view it as a ground-breaking triumph of modern art, while others see it as the definitive blot on the landscape.  To tell the truth, it didn't really seem to be the shape of an egg to me, or at least not more than half of one; it certainly is very modern.  In all the postcards, it beautifully reflects the colors of the sunset; but on a smoggy day like this, it was just reflecting a grayish-pink glow.  

Most things are better from a distance than close up, but this was the opposite.  Up close, it's a symbol of the future, bold and adventurous.  However, later in the week I saw it from a distance, as part of a skyline including the Forbidden City and the north lake, and it looked like a bubble-wrap bubble than I wanted to pop.  It might have been better out alongside skyscrapers in a business district, but as a next-door neighbor to Tiananmen Square, it just looked completely out of place.  

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