After much back-and-forthing, we decided to return to China this year for a second visit with our son and daughter-in-law. Considering it in late winter, it became apparent between our schedule and theirs, our travel would necessarily have to take place in mid-summer. They're moving back to the U.S. soon, so we thought maybe a visit would cramp their plans at the end of their Shanghai stay. Besides, we would be able to see them during their time back. In the end however, they were persuasive and we decided to seize the opportunity. We went back to China for two weeks.
Because our son had exhausted his vacation time, we planned our trip to take advantage of two full weekends. The first weekend, they suggested we stay around the city, which was more than fine with M & me, trying to get our sea legs after the long trip. Last year, the kids made sure we experienced the full Shanghai treatment, visiting all of the top city destinations. This year, we ventured off the beaten track a bit and on Saturday, took the train a few short stops to the outskirts. Walking down a narrow, industrial back road, I never would have guessed this gem would be found around the bend.
I love to poke around old things ~ anywhere! ~ so when we walked into Hu & Hu Antiques, I swooned. Our son, having been dragged around as a child to antique shows and flea markets, apparently didn't hold that against me and instead used the experience to plan the perfect outing!
Despite its out-of-the-way location, Hu&Hu is apparently well known in the expat community and among foreigners who travel in and out of the city on business. I can see how word of mouth would spread about such a treasure trove.
While some of the items looked familiar to me from decorating sites and magazines, the prices were much lower than what you'd find outside of China.
Being the first big outing of our trip, I tried to keep myself occupied with taking photos, not considering how I'd get things home. *heh*
Of course, the patterned, painted chests from Western China were almost irresistible! (Good thing I hadn't read their website where they mention 'we ship overseas!')
As we wandered up and down aisles and from room to room, I was feeling quite smug about my steely resistance, patting myself on the back for enjoying without purchasing, when I came upon this antique wooden bowl from Fujian. It had that wonderful Chinese red paint, accented with black banding and the perfect chippy golf leaf. Wrap it up!
I often find when I return from a trip that despite how many photos I take, I didn't take enough to convey the experience. Truth is, you probably never can and if you do, all of that shot-snapping ends up compromising the experience somewhat in the end.
This trip, I knew while I was there that I wasn't getting the shots I wanted and I plum didn't care. It was so hot!! I captured this web shot of the forecast for our stay. The chart doesn't show the humidity, but I guess when it hovers around 85% there's no point in rubbing it in!
On Sunday, we ventured out to a popular art gallery area in Shanghai, M50. It was hot, hot, hot and the perfect place to meander at our own pace. At first, I thought the galleries were each hosting a 'show'. But by the end of the afternoon, and confirmed by some internet inquiry later, I came to realize that many of these galleries were actually the artists' studios, featuring their work in the front area.
There were many galleries in the complex but this one featuring the work of Wei Yi was one of my favorites. The paintings, quite large and surprisingly (to me) political, juxtaposed portrayals of childhood photos with the same individuals, as adults, in current, sad situations (prostitution, drugs) ~ youthful hopes and possibilities vs. the realities of life. Their size magnified the visual impact. All quite moving.
This one was accompanied by the following artist's statement. Wow.
On a lighter note, my DIL & I particularly enjoyed the work of 'Sunny', a printmaker whose work was featured at Weiping Art Works. Her series of large engravings was titled 'Stop Thinking', each a depiction of a person in some state of contemplation. On very close inspection, the images were comprised of small, scrawled words in varying densities, conveying the message to stop thinking and listen to your heart.
The one on this poster was called 'The Little Thinker'. (Me, with my former 'little thinker'.)
I loved this one, 'Surprise'. These two small poster versions came home with me.
On the way out of the area to grab a cab home, we walked along a graffti lined road. Despite the posting of vehement 'No graffiti' signs (which I should have gotten a shot of ~ did I mention it was hot hot hot?), this is quite a long expanse of street art, a nice contast with the many identical apartment buildings that sprawl, into the far distance, behind the fencing.
Last summer when we visited, I didn't see any fabric outside of the South Bund Material Mart and the Blue Nankeen Museum, but purchased a bit at both. Since I haven't yet used one scrap of what I brought home last year, I was intent on avoiding any fabric shopping on this trip. But people, it just finds me! As we were walking along the graffiti wall, we came upon a scruffy, older guy (highly camera-averse) who had set up a little table of odds & ends for sale. There were no other tables, no other sellers. And this here was it ~ his whole stock. A film projector, an old fan, a few dirty bowls and this wonderful assortment of handwoven stripes, in 9 yard lengths. 25 yuan each.
That's $4. My resolve has its limits. It looks nice under my new bowl, doesn't it?