Tag Archives: China

Goodbye China

 I arrived in China on July 21/2007 and almost exactly 5 months later I’ll be leaving this amazing country. My next stop is South Korea. Below are some of my favourite moments & photos I’ve had both on & off the stage in China. Looking back at all this has made me realize what a truly phenominal opportunity this has been. Doing an amazing show is one thing. Doing an amazing show in a country where the history & current culture are so radically different from my own has made this one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
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Xi’An & The Terra Cotta Warriors

Xi’An marked a new opening night for “42nd Street” in China! We had 7 new girls in our show & everything went extremely well! No one fell. No one slipped on the staircase we tap-dance on. And there was no blood (even though 4 shows later there actually WAS blood! But she was okay!).
The air in China is really terrible. When I blow my nose the stuff that comes out is literally charcoal grey/black. I can’t believe I’m breathing that in!
We had a group tour to the Terra Cotta Warriors. It was really cool to see what’s come to be known as the “8th Wonder of the World”. What’s even more insane is that construction of these warriors was started in about 246 BC and they just discovered them in 1974! The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are considered the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century & it’s still ongoing. It was built as part of the Royal Tomb of the first emperor of China who ordered 720,000 labourers to build it. The emperor was 13 when he ascended the throne and asked for the mausoleum…of COURSE he’s gonna ask for a bunch of life-size soldiers!

the Great Wall of China

Possibly the best day of this tour so far:

Beijing

So here it is! I’m thankful I was able to come here in the summer because my time was totally cut short this time. We got our 7 new girls for the show this week so, with the other dance captain, I was rehearsing them so they’re ready for their first show in Xi’An!
But I still found time to get some MAJOR shopping done. I got my winter outfit for the cold weather in Tibet and for skiing in Korea!
The shopping markets here are NUTS! You can bargain on pretty much anything from laptops to watches to pearls and lighters! But I tell ya! If you try on a shirt these vicious little girls working at the market expect you to buy it! And if you don’t? Apparently you get a nasty bruise on your arm like the one I’m sporting now! This wicked little gal grabbed my arm and would NOT let go! I left my Billy Club in Canada so I had to sweet talk her and tell her I was a poor student and had no money!

Wuhan

 Wuhan was packed! I didn’t really do a lot of sightseeing here. I remember is that there were people EVERYWHERE! The seats at our theatre were also totally sold out for the entire run so that was a really nice perk too!
 There was a Chinariffic sign on an ATM that read: “Draws Money Machine”. I don’t know what that beautiful young girl in the green did, but she was on the street and looked gorgeous! I’m hoping to God or Buddha or whoever that those dogs were being sold as pets….but ya never do know. The group of young fans and some cast members were students we met at Hostelling International in Wuhan that wanted to learn more about the American Musical. And something I really didn’t think I’d see in China: a Wal Mart! And something I really didn’t think I’d DO in China: I SHOPPED at Wal Mart! I don’t even do that at home, but I needed a new suitcase!

Hefei

 Hefei was another nice surprise. There was a gorgeous park with a China-riffic amusement park in it. I was seriously like a little kid again.
Our hotel was at a massive Olympic training facility with a fountain-show out front that had water shows choreographed to “42nd Street” music. Sounds cool, right?!?! Try waking up at 8:30am to hear your show’s CD blaring out your window! We also had student volunteer translators at our hotel that were pretty much on-call to help us if we needed it because the hotel staff didn’t know English. Who knew ordering Crispy Spring Rolls would need a translator! But with the prospect of having a gutted crab end up on my table I made sure I was ordering the right thing!
Oh, and the DVD store by our theatre?!?! Somewhat of a curse! Each DVD equals about $0.85 so most of us went a little crazy!

Travel Days In China

In between the last few cities the cast has had to travel for about 6-8 hours on a Chinese bus with a Chinese driver on Chinese highways with Chinese rest-stops. Yes: we’re in China! And this is what that entails:

  • We have to ship our luggage a day or two earlier because there isn’t sufficient room under the bus for all our luggage. I’m not sure why they have to send it so much earlier. They just do! So all we get for the trip is our carry-on luggage to last us through that time.
  • We load the bus & have to be self-governing over who gets their own seat or who gets to share (apparently, self-governing doesn’t always mean “fair”!). Because of the large cast, most of us have to share seats. Having a good seat-mate can make or break an 8-hour bus ride! Sleeping is not easy. As you can see in the pic I was neither pretty NOR comfortable on our last bus-trip! I was what you’d call “an unhappy camper!”
  • Gravol. If you’re from the USA and don’t know what this drug is: get it! It’s become our travel-day wonder drug that only the Canadians know about! God Bless the makers of Gravol!
  • Chinese bus drivers apparently like to beep their horns a LOT…even when there are absolutely no cars in sight. This makes trying to take a nap really tough. There are even signs along the side of the road for “no beeping” because it gets so out of control sometimes!
  • Chinese rest-stops: look at the pics below! I don’t think I’m allowed to post the words in my vocabulary that would describe the smell & sight of some of the rest-stops I’ve seen. What you see on the walls & floor is exactly what you think it is.
  • But on top of it all: this is all stuff I’m never going to forget and I’m still loving being in the middle of it all!