I was accepted into the Residency program about half a year ago, and since then their Residency Coordinator has changed just a bit, and so have some of their schedules. It turns out that the program gets underway tomorrow, and most of the other Residents arrive then, or a day later. So I’ve been hanging out with my son Matt for a few days longer than I expected – always a welcome opportunity.
Last night Matt was off for a long Judo practice, so I used the opportunity to walk down the block to the massage parlor find out what a foot massage would be like. The parlor’s been there a long time, and Matt assured me that the place was highly reputable. Their posted menu of offerings is a mile long, and foot massages range from 30 – 60min.
I opted for the 70min Health Foot Massage for 88 Quai ($14.33), and was introduced to a cute little Chinese girl and ushered into a room – sleezy is too strong a word for it, but… – with three rather threadbare couch-lounge-recliner things. She left to get a tub of very hot water to soak my feet, and while they cooked she began to work on my shoulders and neck. That must be the HEALTH part of the foot massage. That girl DOES have strong thumbs. Whew! I was rather glad when she left my shoulder blades to begin working on my toasty marinated feet.
Great Workout for the Feet
My feet got oiled and patted, and each toe was individually pampered, pulled, popped, stretched, punched and scraped, as were my soles and heels as well. It really did feel good, and I think she made short work of some tough skin and calluses. Lots of time spent around the toenails, too. So it felt good after the 70 minutes, and still feels good today. My only regret is that we were so limited in our communication, since she knew as much English as I know Chinese. Lots of “thumbs up,” pointing, smiling, and gestures.
This time visiting with Matt hasn’t been entirely lost in terms of art. I found I can still use the subway system fairly easily, and used it to go to the National Art Museum. In the subway, a little girl came up to me and asked me if I needed help, in perfect schoolgirl English. I kind of did at that moment, and so I met her and her Mother, who said they have lots of American friends with whom they study the Bible. Nice experience. Last time I was at the Museum, there was a fabulous international art exhibition with lots of contemporary Chinese and foreign art. I guess that set my expectations too high. This time almost the entire exhibition area was devoted to classical ink and brush drawings, and calligraphy. Not to negate that, but it is not what I was hoping for, or interested in.
Yesterday Matt joined me in a trip to the Caochangdi (pronounced: Tsai-Chong-D) art area. It is kind of hard to get to by public transport, and more spread out than the much more famous 798 Art District. Even on a Saturday, there were not many people in the Galleries though, and things looked pretty slow. I guess this just is not the season for tourist and local gallery hopping. At least, we did get to some of the majors there – the Chambers Gallery, White Space Gallery, ArtMIA, and some other small galleries in between. We were happiest at Shanghart Gallery, where we spent quite some time considering the meaning of a painting of an astronaut in a lounge chair attached by a plastic airway to a caged honeycomb studded with screws and mechanical inserts. (It was lots better than it sounds in my description here!) I’m still impressed by the meticulous detail that Chinese artists express in their work.
The weather here has been holding up well, since the gruesome pollution on my arrival blew away. Comfortable temperatures, sunny days, only a little haze.