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Gone Shopping

Shopping on the streets is one of the signs that tradition is still alive and well in Beijing. Open air markets can be found next to high-rise hotels, and side streets and alleyways are littered with small shops selling crafts and antiques. And, of course, there’s the process of haggling that’s become tradition in street shops, and that also gets pretty entertaining.

This is a taste of Liulichang, where all kinds of artwork, calligraphy brushes, and other handcrafts are lurking in the little shops.

One of the ladies I’m traveling with has been to China before, so we stopped in a shop where she’d been before, and they remembered her. 🙂 Another guy in our group asked her to get him a painting of a rooster, but they didn’t have the one he liked on hand, and we were leaving Beijing early the next day, so we couldn’t come back and pick it up. Then, the painter basically said, “oh, I’ll just do one right now, it’ll take 15 minutes,” and then whipped out his brush and started painting!

This fan is hand-painted 🙂

This was at a tea shop one of my travelmates had found the previous day. She served us a lot of *very* good tea for free, and was freely giving out discounts once she found out who had told us about her shop. I still managed to haggle her down a bit farther on a tea set, though 😉


  1. I have really loved reading your travel blog, Sarah! (I am procrastinating writing my thesis project as I read it, but how can i not!) The pics are so great, they all look like postcards 🙂 I love the detail on the paintings and the fan, too…beautiful.

    Both the open air market and the crowded train station remind me somewhat of my travels to Guatemala–cramming in buses where you were smashed like sardines with other people and worrying about your belongings, etc…but the markets were so fun–and an adventure in haggling to be sure 🙂

    love, Helen

  2. I love the picture and the story behind the painter and his ability to just whip out a brush and paint the rooster that your friend wanted. That is simply just… amazing. And I agree with Helen, the details on that painted fan are so beautiful!

    I would love to own something like that. Even mass produced hand painted items that even look similar are always a little bit different. Those kind of quirks make me happy 🙂

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