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Food for thought in sculpture park

updated: 2010-01-13

If you are a fan of art and love sculptures, or want a fun day out for the family, I highly recommend a visit to Beijing International Sculpture Park, which is situated in the west of the city. It is Beijing's largest sculpture theme park, boasting sculptures, murals and paintings from more than 40 countries.

It is great to come here not only to see the sculptures on display, but to enjoy a stroll through a very pleasant park. I really enjoyed seeing how the Chinese like to chill out in their spare time. Both young and old gather here to do their own thing, whether it's practicing musical instruments, working out on exercise equipment, or getting fit by traditional Chinese exercise.

I was a bit too late to join old people doing their early morning Tai Chi. Apparently, Tai Chi starts really early in the morning and I didn't get my butt into the park until after 9 a.m., but I do hope to participate in these Tai Chi workouts some time soon.

However, as a newcomer to China I did find it exhilarating to see people playing kong zhu, a game I have never witnessed before. I can really only describe kong zhu as being like spinning tops on a long piece of string. Men and women were performing all sorts of juggling and balancing acts with the kong zhu, as well as spinning the spinning tops around themselves in sort of hula hoop fashion.

I was also charmed to see people waving long, colourful flags around. All sorts of wonderful patterns and shapes were being made by these ribbon-like flags that are called yang ge. Further along in the park, I came across an open area where a choir of some 20 people had gathered. They were heartily singing patriotic songs. A middle-aged woman sat in the midst of them passionately playing away on an erhu, a Chinese violin.

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