Olympic Green + 798 Art District

During my first visit to Beijing, I skipped all of the Olympic attractions, including the Chinese National Stadium (i.e. Bird's Nest; 鸟巢), mostly because I figured they would be boring. I mean, a stadium is a stadium, right? But the contemporary, infamous, and controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei did have a hand in the creation of the Bird's Nest, so I decided to check it out.

I think the Bird's Nest looks better in photographs than it does in person. At night, if it's all lit up, I'm sure it'd look a whole lot better. Or maybe not. Maybe a stadium is just a stadium.

Before walking to the Bird's Nest from the South Gate of Forest Park, I made a quick trip to the China Science and Technology Museum, which was as crowded as any attraction I've seen in China outside of the Forbidden City. I had no idea there were so many science nerds in Beijing.

I'm curious to know what the hammer-and-sickle sign says, because it strikes me as an odd choice for the reception desk of the Science and Technology Museum.

The admission to China Science and Technology Museum was steep by Chinese standards, and I didn't expect it to feature much passable English, if any, so I skipped it. After the Bird's Nest, I wandered around North Third Ring Middle Road and North Fourth Middle Ring Road.

After two or three hours of wandering around, I took a taxi to 798 Art Zone (a.k.a. Dashanzi Art District), and it just so happened to be smack dab in the middle of 798's annual art festival.

Unfortunately the photography gallery I wanted to visit was closed; fortunately it'll reopen before I leave Beijing, so I'll be going back to 798 at least one more time. While there I did enjoy a fantastic collection of photographs from Ren Shulin, who in the 1980s hung around high school students in Beijing, photographing on campuses and in classrooms.