Just got home

Posted by: Brendan

Just got home - 09/06/01 09:48 AM

After 26 hours of traveling, not including the 7 hour layover in LA and the 4 hour layover in Seoul, I am finally home from China. I have been awake for almost 40 hours, yet I feel strangely invigorated.

For those who don't know, I have been there for the last three weeks playing concerts (orchestral piano and chamber music) with a group from CCM in various cities.

I see from glancing through the topics in the past few weeks that you all waited until I was gone to have the good discussions, including a few Chopin-Liszt skirmishes right after I left. Shame on you all. I also see that the Corner is a completely different place, which I kind of expected.

Anyway, when I wake up from my coma and get my pics developed, I'll post them here.

Brendan
Posted by: magnezium

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 10:41 AM

it's great to have u back!! =]
Posted by: jodi

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 11:04 AM

Hi Brendan - We missed you! Hope you had a great trip - tell us about it when you have the time. When do you start back to school? Speaking of Liszt, I've been working on Widmung. Its getting there - even the hard part. Jodi
Posted by: Joy

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 12:47 PM

Welcome home Brendan!

Can't wait to hear your stories!
How was the music? How was the food? How was the plumbing?

;\)

Joy
Posted by: Diarmuid

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 03:07 PM

At last,

You've been gone too long \:\)
Posted by: jgoo

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 10:56 PM

Welcome back Brendan! Hope you had a good trip. Its been a while since you've been around the forum. Can't wait to hear about your trip.
Posted by: wghornsby

Re: Just got home - 09/06/01 11:09 PM

WELC :DME BACK!!!
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Just got home - 09/07/01 03:30 PM

Brendan:

Welcome back!
Posted by: Alex

Re: Just got home - 09/08/01 08:17 PM

Brendan,

Welcome home - Lizst still s**ks! :p

Alex
Posted by: Brendan

Re: Just got home - 09/09/01 08:02 PM

Thanks, all!

Joy, by asking about the plumbing you have already told me that you know the answer to that question. \:D This was the most difficult part for me to cope with. Basically, unless it's designated as a western toilet, you get to pop a squat. Most of them smelled horrid and were unflushed; I was doing my best to time my bowel movements so that I could do a #2 in the hotel (where the had western toilets).

The food was exquisite. It really made me realize that Chinese food here isn't Chinese food. We had a meal in the Shaolin Temple and it was some of the most delicious cuisine that I've ever tasted. Whereas American dishes like steak and potatoes have only one taste per bite, this food had a wide variety of tastes in each spoonful (I couldn't use chopsticks). The food that we had in the hotels was a little more tame, but the few times that I snuck out with friends to eat were memorable dining experiences. Some of the more exotic things I tried - heart, stomach, lung, and tongue. The heart and stomach were part of a dish called "hot pot," native to Chonquing in the south. Basically, there is a pot in the middle of the table (kind of like fondue) and you cook your own food in oils, broth and spices. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

In the more international cities like Beijing and Xian, I saw a good number of Americans, but as we got farther south (Zhen Zhou and Chongqing) I can say that I saw less than 20 Americans total. People were very curious about us (especially my leg hair) and wanted to practice their English on us, or even just walk around and hang out. It was really cool - despite the language barrier, there were good vibes being sent both ways. I have to say that this really dispelled the negative perception that I had about China; yes, the government may be corrupt, but the people are just like most on the planet - they just want to have a good time.

Tourist sights that I saw:
The Great Wall at Badaling
The Emperor's Tomb
The Shaolin Temple of Martial Arts
The Forbidden City
The Summer Palace

I probably enjoyed the Shaolin Temple the most, mainly because I am into that sort of thing. I got a few gratuitous pics of me and my friends doing kung-fu poses. Happiness!

Speaking of pics, they are finally developed, but my scanner is having problems again. Little help, Jodi?

I managed to pick up a little Mandarin, but the only characters that I learned were those for "entrance," "exit," and "people." There were many times when I wished that I at least had laughable command of the language so that I couls BS with people and do thigns by myself, but that wasn't the case. Maybe next time.

The audiences were mostly enthusiastic, even if they were a little loud. I think it's because they're not used to classical concerts in the way westerners are - sitting quietly in a darkened hall and what not. Generally, the performances were successful.

 Quote:

Originally posted by Alex:
Welcome home - Lizst still s**ks![/b]


Posted by: jodi

Re: Just got home - 09/09/01 09:25 PM

Brendan - send me the pics, I will scan them - leg hair and all. :p Then I can snail-mail them back to you and send you or Frank the scanned attachments via email? Glad you had such a great time. Are there any recordings of this event? I would love to have some more of your music to play... \:\) Jodi
Posted by: Joy

Re: Just got home - 09/10/01 04:12 PM

Brendan,

Thanks for sharing highlights of your trip! Visiting China is definitely an educational, eye-opening experience. Not for those looking for a typical relaxing 'vacation.' It IS a total adventure!

I laughed out loud about your response to my 'plumbing' reference. I'm a little dismayed that the situation hasn't changed all that much since I was there. I know I held back from drinking water just so I wouldn't HAVE to use a bathroom, holding out as long as I could until we were back in our nice westernized hotel. My mouth would be so parched by the end of the day though.

Funny aside to this: I used to get therapeutic massages regularly. When my masseur got to my legs (this was only a few days after I returned from China), he said "Wow, whatever you've been doing, keep it up! Your legs and thighs developed some added tone. What have you been doing the past two weeks?" I said "Squat toilets. Furgitaboutit. I never want to see or experience them ever again. " He laughed non-stop.

Yes, I can picture Chinese audiences being noisy. At least they weren't spitting, were they? When I was there, you'd see signs all over the place "NO SPITTING ALLOWED!"

Most importantly, this is the crux of any trip to China -- and the BEST part: You said:

". . . .yes, the government may be corrupt, but the people are just like most on the planet - they just want to have a good time."[/b]

I found the people we met warm-hearted and fascinating. And you can sense they feel the same way when they respond to YOU. They want to know all about you. Plus you are their window to the outside world. I loved all of our tour guides (all English majors in college), they were so articulate and engaging.

The more interchange, the better I say.

I still have my "I was in Badaling" T-shirt.

You now have memories for a lifetime.

Joy
\:D

[ September 10, 2001: Message edited by: Joy ]