Tuesday, 26 March 2013


TUESDAY march 19

it's getting smoggy again here after a bright blue clear day yesterday...
i'm so tired though, it's not the right time for me to be doing a trip like this, i'm still way below par, but today is my last gig   YAY  and it's only 45 minutes so tomorrow is a free day and thursday we're being taken to the great wall.

i loved this little boy - a sweet little character

this little boy was in the cafe  at lunch, in his mao cap 
the air - just awful

Ann james doing
her  wonderful demo -
lovely watercolor
wash with charcoal
over the top.

these students were older,
around 13-14 and all
very shy, a bit of a tough
crowd but nice kids

another great
on the way
the smog tonight


Look!  snow 

- i  opened up the
blind and there 
it is, spread out before me.  it's
my day off too - 
and the sun is 
out and sky is 
whoo hoo  !!

Alison in the snow next to the hotel, it was gorgeou

i'm just back from a great day with alison lester  at the panjiayuan market - fabulous stuff at crazy prices.  i didn't buy anything much, it all fits in my handbag but we had a lovely day, the sky was blue and big lumps of snow were sploshing off the rooves all around us.  and drifting out of the trees in the breeze.  all very lovely. 

we hired a driver (a lovely shiny black mercedes benz and leathery luxury :0) because we had four places to go but by the time we made it out of the market we were surprised to see we’d already used up our four hours  -  it was enough, we’d had a great time 
and bought a few 

 It took us a long time to get through
this section - gorgeous jewellery,
brass, all kinds of metal things, old
ceramics, this gorgeous girl with
alison was from a regional tribe,
not sure of the name but she
was lovely and her stall of jewellery
was wonderful

The last couple of days have been really good, i’ve been able to enjoy this big plush hotel instead of feeling like it’s a prison. it’s amazing how different everything is with great people around.
we tried out a few of the restaurants and bars here  and it’s nice to see familiar faces down at breakfast.  yesterday morning was magic sitting in the Feast brekky restaurant and looking out to trees and tabletops with about 4” of snow piled up, dogs bounding around in the snow, a mum and her two black and white chubby pups.

THURSDAY  march 21
last night the four ‘A’s’ from australia, anne, ann, amberlin and alison, with another ann MC-ing, did a panel session on various aspects of our illustrating work, and john, the wonderful teacher from the western academy took us to an amazing dumpling restaurant for dinner. it was sensational, every dish delicious -  squid, chicken, eggplant, charred beans, dumplings – so many subtle flavours in each dish.  it was a real treat.

Heading off to our
gig in the bus

After our gig, pam mcintyre, john byrne (from western academy), me, alison, gong, our wonderful translator, amberlin kwaymullina, ann james and tom birdseye, american writer   - and now off to dinner

this dumpling restaurant was packed with people, noisy, energetic and the food was fabulous 

it's always great to see a sign like
this as you enter a restaurant

today we’re off to the Great Wall!

the embassy has organised a day for us to take a trip out to the great wall and it's clear sky and crisp clear weather.
Arthur picked us up in the bus - alison, ann, ann, amberlin, pam and I.  it was about an hour and a bit through kilometres of city then open fairly bare country. the bare trees are lovely, full of the big
scrappy magpies nests i love - i'll miss them when we leave

i won't even describe the great wall - we saw it in the most perfect conditions, fresh air and beautiful snow, we managed to negotiate the icy bits  and we almost had the
wall to ourselves when we got there.

heading off on
the cable cars  -
fun whizzing
over the 

WHOO HOO  - so good to be here

 IT WAS A GREAT DAY and then in the evening we had an evening at the library where ann and
i had worked for the past few days.   We met publishers from china - here is amberlin with images from her books which have just been published in China.

andrew kelly from wild dog books, with gong and a chinese illustrator

the sun's just come up and my last morning here looks like it will be  fine and relatively (repeat relatively) clear.  our trip to the great wall  yesterday was sensational - with the recent snow the landscape looked just magical and the day was clear skies and crisp fresh air up in the mountains,  it was a pleasant hour's bus trip through countryside to get there and we spent a couple of hours climbing the wall and walking along the top up and down uneven steps, some deep and some really shallow, some with a slight sideways slope.  there was a lot of snow will piled up everywhere but we all managed to avoid slipping on icy patches and finished the day with a great lunch at a local restaurant.   last night we had a 'meet the publishers' event and afterwards i caught up with dear friend tony, i thought i was going to miss him but he came back from hong kong a couple of days early and we managed dinner at a hotpot restaurant last night.

tony and li at the hotpot restaurant, great food and so good to see tony and to meet li

I've just got time before my flight this morning to borrow a hotel bicycle and go down to the 798 arts district with andrew kelly, a melbourne publisher who's  visiting here too.

the 798
arts district
is a huge
complex of 
bauhaus buildings
that now houses
galleries, studios
shops and cafes.

we saw some
exhibitions by
chinese artists -
specially one 
of mongolian
people in their
landscape and
a really funny
one of photos of
a chinese hero
of the mao era,
cleverly constructed photos based on
a true character.

the 798
is a popular 
area for photo
shoots and we were 
lucky to come
across two right 
next to each other.

the wall below is made 
of rows and rows of 
agi pipe, really

The embassy sent a car to take me to the airport - an old london style cab, it was very flash and spacious and comfortable.

the toll gate on the way to the airport is this lovely traditional structure

in contrast - this is the sensational CCTV building on the right, it's massive, this photo gives no indication of scale

 crazy neon


SAT 24th        
now i'm back and sitting up in bed at denise's in geelong under my favorite bright orange blanket, a plunger of coffee by my side.  the trip home was uneventful, except for the wonderful london cab that the embassy sent to drive me to the airport.  sunny picked me up and we had a leisurely op shopping morning before i drove down here.

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