Today was a busy day. In the morning I decided to go visit the painting studios in the art building because I knew they were in the middle of classes. One student who I had met before took me on a tour and introduced me to some art teachers and the students. It was quite enlightening. They do a lot of copying of other art and traditional Chinese painting is very important. They are all skilled realist. One student was allowed to do some other work. He was doing an expressionism/impressionism piece and also had finished an abstract expressionism piece. I was glad to see that. Maybe he was inspired by my lecture yesterday to the art students. During the lecture they told me that they did not know what non-objective art was or what the term meant. I do realize China had an emperor until 1911 and they were living in an ancient world. They have come a long way in modernization but that really has not happened until around 1972. In many ways they have not caught up culturally with the US but in many areas they have.
They have huge shopping malls in Nanjing. They have huge high rise condominiums, they have a great bus system and they have partly built a modern subway system. They have Wal-Mart’s here; they have KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Papa John’s Pizza. They love to eat this food because they are always packed. I saw a line of 30 people outside a Pizza Hut one afternoon. I think like me they are sick of rice and noodles. Don’t get me wrong, I like rice and noodles but breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. They do eat vegetables, fish, pork, beef, eel, frogs, turtles, shrimp, crawfish, and things you wonder what in the world that is. I have heard that when our Chinese students visit America they sometimes say the same thing, “what in the world is that.” They have many modern clothing stores. I even dropped my jaw when I saw a Nike store. But some of the side streets have mom and pop cookeries. Last night I saw someone selling a meal through an iron fence to someone who was just walking by. There are old people with sewing machines in the middle of the sidewalk and every street or sidewalk has a bicycle/motorcycle repair place. Ok, enough rambling.
After visiting the art studios, John my interpreter when I needed one, asked me for tea as his home. That was very kind of him. He had a very nice 11th floor condominium he said he owns and that it has increased in price. He has two bedrooms, an outdoor porch, a study, a dining area, a living room and a small kitchen. It was quite elegant although I told him he needed some art on the walls, ha! If you think that was rude of me I say that to my American friends also. We then came back to campus and ate lunch together before catching the bus to the Pukou campus where I was giving a 2 hour lecture. It was quite packed and I gave it my best. I was told afterwards I did well. Then I came back to the main campus where I live to use the internet at a friend’s house where I could check my Face book. Face book and YouTube is illegal for the Chinese people to use. They actually have their own Chinese version of Face book and you can just forget about infringement rights. I also uploaded some pictures on my blog and I was able to check my email as their internet worked like a rabbit.
I then came back to my apartment, ate some leftover dumplings, got an apple, a piece of bread and drink before heading over to the 7:00 closing ceremony for the Fine Arts department. I was considered a special dignitary so I had a special chair with the president and vice president of the college. Awards were given to students and then we saw many music and dance performances. Afterwards I was asked to accompany the president and VP to the stage to shake hands with the performers and lastly a photo with them. They are very kind people. I was accompanied by a student back to my apartment where I sit now and type this blog. Isn’t China wonderful!