The Columbia City Jazz Conservatoryin China

Man in the Moon
Lovers Locks

Friday, July 7 - Yantai City

Today we travel to Yantai City to perform. Yantai is located on the north coast of the Shandong Peninsula and when we get there we are amazed at the beauty of this place. There are many historic places here, and we're saddened by the fact that we've little time to visit any of them. We spend a just a little bit of time exploring the beach area before heading off to the theatre. Here we meet a large Russian man that explains to us that he's ridden his bicycle all the way from Moscow and is staying in a tent on the beach until he continues his journey to the next city! We're all amazed!

We stop along the seashore to stretch our legs a bit. We're told that the area we're in is very popular with lovers. The Man in the Moon here is said to bless marriages and help foster a lengthy relationship. There's a line of folks standing on the pier that leads out to the pier to have their pictures taken. Dale and I decide to wait in line.

The little locks you see here in the chain next to the beach area are placed there by couples wishing a long life together. In some places, these are packed so tightly there's not room for another.

Danincg with great lights!

Some of the best lighting during our entire tour!


Friday, July 7 - Yantai City

The theatre here is a very nice facility with air conditioning! The show goes very well and the audience is much more receptive than in Laiyang.

We're also very pleased with the lighting at this show. Considering that we never had time for a tech rehearsal with the crew at the theatre, the lighting guy had no clue as to what any of our pieces looked like, had no idea of what music we were using, and didn't even know the cues until I called them out to him in Chinese during the actual performance - we probably had the best lighting of any show we've ever performed! Aerosmith - watch out!

Tired, but happy about our successful performance, we catch a quick bite to eat at McDonald's and head back to our hotel in Laiyang.

Goodbye

Everyone wants their picture taken with us! Before departing for the train,
the entire wait staff of the restuarant in the hotel insists on taking pictures!

Sunday, July 9 - The Train on Nanjing

We take a bus to Quingdao in order to catch a train to Nanjing. We'll be taking trains several times during our trip, and will quickly learn that the train ride itself isn't so bad at all. It's getting on and off the thing with all our bags that's a nightmare. The trains stop at each station for only a limited amount of time, and the tiny corridors are barely wide enough for some of our suitcases. It will take advance planning for every train ride we take in order to get on and off in time. The basic plan is to just throw all the bags on as quickly as we can and cram them into one compartment in order to let everybody else on the train that's unfortunate enough to end up in line behind us. Then, once everyone is on board and the train starts moving, we slowly remove the bags from the one compartment and divide them up among all the compartments we're occupying. We will also quickly learn that it's very difficult for Lead Culture to purchase tickets that keep the entire group together without strangers in the compartments with us. Each time we get on a train Mr. Wong has to trade tickets with other passengers in order to get our group back together again. This seems to be standard practice with all passengers on the train though, and it's usually pretty chaotic the first 30 minutes or so until everybody has settled down where they want to be.

During our 16 hour overnight train to Nanjing, I meet a nice man who named William who is delighted to have someone to practice his English with. William is a civil engineer returning home to Beijing after completing a construction project in another city. I am enjoying my conversations with William, but a few of the dancers happen by and finding he speaks English, slowly take over and I find myself left out of the conversation. As the train rolls on into the night and the hour begins to get late, William ends up with almost all the dancers crowded around him as he tells them few Chinese ghost stories before it's time for everyone to go to sleep. A gentleman sitting behind William adds a ghost story of his own in Chinese, and William interprets for him. You would have needed to be there, but it was a magical moment!