The clandestine camaraderie between the artists and gloomy street walls has led to an extricating depiction of matters close to every local. This extremely populated city manages to be inspirational even today with its sparkling cityscape and space for idiosyncratic expression. Qianmen Street, 798 Art Zone and Nanxincang are best places to experience this yourself. So ditch the overcrowded tourist places and see a new side of Beijing. Take some time out, set out on foot to explore the artistic pleasures this city entails. Yes, take time out to stand and stare, to wonder at the equanimity of temper expressed along the narrow lanes. Give this side of the city a chance and before you know it, you would have fallen in love with this ruffian self. There is no denying that a trip here is incomplete without going to the Great Wall of China or the numerous temples but there is so much more waiting to be discovered here.Beijing is a land of contrast, a land of that preserves the old and promotes anything new. If you move around this capital of China, you will find yourself staring at Soviet-styled monuments, vanished temple and skyscrapers birthing from the same premises. It was a seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors and so the gradual change in the historical winds is embedded in its architecture. A walk down some narrow streets and the distinct influence from all schools of architecture is palpable. The city reiterates its culture through a fine line up of museums and art galleries. Museum of Beijing Stone Inscription Art, The He Yang & Wu Qian Modern Art Gallery, Red Gate gallery and National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) are some that were a part of my trip.Beijing truly is a remarkable citadel of China. Don’t be afraid of the crowd, they will unveil stories you never imagined.
INS Chapal is a warship which has been converted into a museum and now open for visitors. You are shown a short film about the life on the voyage and you get to explore the entire width of the ship to get a glimpse of the voyager’s life. Alongside is the Karwar Aquarium which houses a wide variety of fish. I initially thought it would be nothing great but the sheer variety surprised me. Both these are just on the Tagore Beach, so you could couple a visit to these places along with the beach.
The place we stayed at on our third night was a small and dirty town called JingJiang which is right on the Yangtze River and close to where we could catch the ferry the next day. There also happened to be at least one wedding party staying there the night as well (we could see all their Black Audis adorned in ribbons parked outside), but luckily they still had room for a couple of wandering foreigners. Unfortunately, it seemed that the stress of driving through the Chinese countryside really took its toll on me as I found myself once again falling ill from exhaustion as I did this same time last year in Qingdao. It wasn’t as bad and despite the slight fever, after a night of rest, water, instant noodles, and a TV special movie “Founding of a Republic" (a movie about how the communists found modern China), by morning I was good as new and ready to head into Shanghai.