I have some funny news to share with you today: I have been modeling/posing for a camera other than mine!
I’ll tell you right away: no, I won’t become a model! I am not into that and besides, I am far from being model material. But, funny things happen in China!
You know here, you look different than Asian, you are a “model”. Either they want to pose with you, either they take secret selfies including you in the frame, either they take a picture in the street/subway of you (not discreetly at all though), or they #photobomb your selfies. All of those situations happened to me through this year. To be honest, it made me smile more than anything.
But last Sunday, I went to the Temple of the Sun, 日坛, located in Jianguomen, not far from the center. That temple is part of the 4 temples surrounding the Forbidden City and Tian An’men square (the heart of the city). NB: do you remember I told you about how those temples were built and positioned due to the 4 cardinal points? If you don’t, a little reminder here (https://romaingijsensblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/down-to-earth-chinese-mythology-part-i/) and another article next week about the sacred symbol that is the Temple of the Sun.
So back to my story!
As I said, I have been, against my will, the object of many cameras since I landed in this beautiful city. From a random girl in the subway posting on her Wechat to a professional photographer following my every step in 三里屯 (SanLiTun, the European district), I have been taken in pictures by total strangers. I never asked for it, they even, from time to time, ask you to take a pose. No big deal here! But then, that Sunday, walking with my friend in a new park, we saw something that changed our nice walk into an afternoon #shooting….
A small group of girls were standing in front of this beautiful lotus lake. I said to my friend that I needed pictures of me with that background scenery as well. They were just laughing and taking selfies. Then, one of the gils, all dressed up and very beautiful, stepped forward to my spot, and for at least 15 minutes, starting posing for her friends cameras. It was a real shoot, as we crossed path later on and she was still posing as a real model. To be honest, she was really beautiful and I also took pictures of her!
Then as I said, our nice walk turned into a shooting day: my friend took billions of pictures of me in every corner of the park. He directed me, sometimes let me just do my own things. I was the model, he was my professional photographer. And boy, we had fun! I l also realized how tiring it is to pose all day in the sun, moving from a spot to the other, changing pose and the photographer switching from an angle to the other.
The funny thing was those girls were actually watching me posing when we saw each other again. It was really nice and a funny adventure.
The most amazing thing is that here, I never thought I would have that kind of “success”. I knew foreigners were, in some way, special but it seems that in Beijing you may be “the star” as you walk down the street to run some errands or just simply take a bus. I experienced it for the first time on the Great Wall last year, when a security guard at the entrance asked our friends to take a picture of me and my girl friend. Then it happened frequently in the city or outside. Some families even ask you to pose with their mom or child to be a special feature on their souvenir, either they are from Beijing or from another city. It’s funny, not that horrible as some foreigners may say (those are the ones thinking they are real stars being held captive by a horde of Chinese groupies).
What made this park so different was the scenery: the Temple of the Sun is wild and colorful. It’s not crowded and people come there to see the Chinese art and the park itself, the lotus lake and the small waterfall. A quiet peaceful park where you can admire the scenery without thousands of tourists bumping into you. It was the perfect place to be a model once in my life. And I’ll leave that part of me there, as the scenery elsewhere cannot give the same atmosphere we had.
The great thing that happened after that was the repercussion of my first post on Instagram of that day. That Temple represents wild space, light, shinning God Sun. I saw beauty, and indeed it brought light into my life. Something weird happened and in the upcoming months some things will be different.
All of that will have to wait. In the meantime, I’m saying see you soon, and keep an eye here as the real post about this temple is on its way.
See you soon guys!
All pictures are mine. For more, check my Instagram account: instragram.com/romain_blog