The Columbia City Jazz Conservatoryin China

Our supper cruise in Chongqing
The Blue Moon

Sunday, July 16 - The Night Cruise

Siara has to leave us today to fly back to Beijing and try to get her passport and visa replaced. We're not sure how long this could take, but have been told it could be up to a week. We're going to miss her and hope she comes back soon. Dale and I have to change the show lineup yet again and Dale will have to reblock pieces to make up for her absence. I don' think we've done the same exact show twice since arriving here.

In the evening, most of the group ventures out to take a supper cruise. Just getting out to the boat takes some coordination as you must walk over a small walkway that's supported by a number of floating barges. The current is very swift here, so the walkway is constantly moving up and down. Dale is still trying to get over the virus she's caught and has stayed back in the hotel, and I'm almost glad she isn't here as I don't think she would have even made it out to the boat!

The docks are situated right at the junction of the Jialing and Yangzi rivers. The boat remains docked as supper is served, and then ventures out, first turning up the Jialing branch for a bit, and then turing around and heading up the Yangzi branch. One of the first sights we see is the historic section of Chongqing lit like a magical fairie village from a chidren's story book. It's absolutely beautiful! There are so many sights on the banks to see, it's hard to take it all in. Many of the other cruise boats we pass have really crazy neon all over them. We also pass barges full of coal for the power plants in the area.

Train to Guiyang

Monday, July 17 - The Train to Guiyang

We have a 12 hour overnight train to Guiyang City in Guizhou Province. Though we won't be producing our full show here, we're looking forward dancng here as there will be a number of other performers from around China. This should be exciting. However, this isn't to be. Lead Culture gets a call while we're on our way to Guiyang. They're not given a good explanation, but the government has cancelled the entire show. Now we're on a train for 12 hours for no reason.

We all have trouble sleeping on this train for some reason. I sit up almost the entire night looking out of the window. I wish it were daylight. I see dimly lit mystical little villages peaking out through the mountain mist with what appears to be amazing rocky peaks in the background. As the sun slowly comes up, beautifully terraced rice paddies interspersed between patches of corn greet me. It's absolutely breathtaking.

While the train lumbers on, Lead Culture scrambles and manages to rebook our plane tickets from Guiyang to Kunming City almost as soon as we arrive on Tuesday morning. Our only look we get of Guiyang is on the bus between the train station and the airport.

Plane to Kunming

Plane to Kunming

Tuesday, July 18 - Kunming City

After about an hour on the plane, we arrive in Kunming in Yunnan Province. After enduring sweltering heat since our arrival in China, we are pleasantly surprised! It's almost noon and it's only 72 degrees out! We told that this is about as warm as it gets, with the temperature dropping down into the 60's at night. Most buildings here don't even have air conditioning as it's simply not needed.

Birthday

Dale and Allison have a birthday party!


Moments

Wednesday, July 19 - Kunming City

We arrive at the theatre early in the morning for rehearsal. Dale is going to have to reblock a number of pieces with Siara gone, so everybody settles down for some serious work. It turns out to not be as difficult as thought at first, and our performance here goes very well. It's an afternoon performance at 3:00, and the audience is mostly children. We get a number of them to come up on stage with us after the bows.

That evening, we have a joint birthday party for Dale and Allison. Both of them got rooked to a degree, as their birthdays took place while we were scrambling to get on a train or bus to get to our next locations, and this is the first chance we have to celebrate properly for either of them. The birthday cake is excellent!

On our last evening in Guiyang, the group ventures out in different directions. Dale, Joshua and I end up at a lake area in the center of town. This is a very beautiful area with many small shops, restaurants of all kinds, and a number of historic buildings, including a temple. Landscaped paths wind over stone bridges and as you wander about you meet small bands of musicians and singers performing traditional Chinese music. Some of the groups have dancers with them performing traditional Chinese folk dances with fans. One group we stop to listen to for a minute breaks out into a strange rendition of "Red River Valley" while further down the path a group of people are performing what looks like a typical western line dance. It's a very interesting mix of modern imported culture and traditional Chinese culture. We could have spent hours here just watching and listening, but we've a train to catch the next morning and need to pack, so we head back to the hotel.

Dale and I are just dozing off when our phone rings. I look at the clock. It's 1:30am. This can't be good. I answer the phone and it's our translator, Emma from Lead Culture. Emma tells us that Kate has been taken to the hospital. She's not sure what's wrong yet, but says she'll update us if anything new happens.