I spent Saturday morning at a “flea market.” I am officially becoming my grandparents. This was not like any flea market that they ever went to, though. This was a flea market Beijing style, called Panjiayuan. I’ve wanted to go here for years, but when I studied in Beijing the travel guide made it sound very difficult to get to so I never went. Now there is a subway stop right outside the gate. It was full of small stores, small stands, and blankets on the floor under a roof. It used to be known as the “dirt market” and have lots of antiques that vendors had unearthed. Today, the floor isn’t dirt and there are few real antiques, but there is still an abundance of items. Bargaining is a must, but I didn’t find the vendors to be too pushy.
The wares included cheap factory produced Chinese art scrolls (I know this because they are identical to ones I bought 10 years ago), original pieces of art, many varieties of beads, books—new and old, porcelain (I looked at a couple of pieces the vendors said were from the Ming and Qing dynasties with prices to match, but I have no way of knowing if that was true so I passed on those pieces), brass pieces, instruments, Chairman Mao and President Obama playing cards, and much more. My treasures from today are a couple of pieces of original art, some paper cuts, and a couple of porcelain pieces for decoration and organization. Basically all things that will make my apartment prettier. Along the way, I also had fun taking a few pictures.