Saturday, December 8, 2007
Our trip to China ended in the best way possible. We went to Hong Kong, the fantastically beautiful, 7-million-city.
On our first, and only night there, we played at a very small club called "Vibe" and after the gig we hung out with some girls from the Hong Kong Universal office, who we had invited for the show. They took us to a great restaurant and we had a really nice meal. It's nice, as a visitor, to eat with people living in the city. They always know the best places, and our friends understood that we weren't out for cow belly and such.
Before we went back to the hotel, the Universal people took us to the Peak, so that the last picture of Hong Kong, in our minds, would be the one from above.
We have been in big cities before, but it's few of them that you get to watch from an altitude of 552 m... and what a view!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Monday afternoon, after some more bag shopping (everyone but Sebbe off course), we went to Jinan University to do a concert. We were greeted royally with a huge banner above the main entrance saying "Welcome Calaisa", and dinner with the mayor and the principle of the school. Another traditional dinner off course, but very good actually. Some of the dishes were even recognizable to us.
After the big show we thought we'd reward ourselves with some nice traditional Chinese massage. It was very nice until they started to put strange glass bulbs all over our backs. Glass bulbs with a vacuum inside, which made huge hickeys when they were removed. We looked awful, and could not wear tank tops for several weeks after that treatment. But they say it takes out the toxics in your body, so we weren't too sad.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Saturday was all about the big Sister Cities Gala Evening Performance. We started in the morning with rehearsals in the beautiful Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, where the big Gala Evening would take place. Between the first and second rehearsal we had a few hours to kill, and went straight to our favourite shopping market, named "the Gucci hole" by Sebbe, our guitarist who didn't enjoy shopping bags as much as the rest of us did.
After the second rehearsal we dodged from the Memorial Hall and went to find some food on our own, without our lovely guide. We ended up in a small local restaurant, trying to get the lady who worked there to understand that we wanted plain rice with vegetables and chicken, without strange things as chicken feet, and that we wanted it "to go". This went so-so, until an English-speaking guy entered the restaurant and helped us out. The food tasted fantastic!
At 8 pm the Sister Cities Gala Evening started, broadcasted on TV in two Chinese provinces, which means at least 50 million viewers. We performed two songs. In the middle of the last song, “Sisters in arms”, about five kids came running up on stage, everyone with a bouquet of flowers that they gave us. We were extremely surprised and had to stop playing for a second to receive the flowers. Someone told us afterwards that this is how kids do in China to show you that they like what you are playing.
After the successful Concert we went back to the hotel to enjoy the banquette served to all the Artists and Representatives from each country.
Sunday was a busy day.
Morning: Press Conference with some Chinese magazines.
Noon: Radio interview.
At 3 pm: A gig at Tianhe Stadium, which was unfortunately cancelled in the last minute (which means the second before we were to get on stage all dressed up and ready to go) because of the bad weather.
Early evening: A short gig at Volvo.
Night: A gig at the nightclub, Rasputin.
We were kind of exhausted when we went to bed that night.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
After enjoying the fantastic hotel breakfast we started our day with some shopping. Eva took us to a market where we could find nice bags and shoes. A few hours later we left the market with empty wallets and too many bags, shoes and belts. Not all of them good bargains!
From the market we went straight to Pazhou Exhibition Center, and straight up on stage. There wasn’t much time for sound check, the audience gathered as soon as we got there, and the radio show, we were to participate in, started almost immediately. We played one song on the stage, went into the radio “cage” and did and interview, went out on the stage again and played two more songs, and then back into the cage to finish up the interview. Everything went smooth and nice, and we had done our first interview on Chinese radio.
That evening it was time for the big opening ceremony at Tianhe Stadium. Before the show we were invited to a Welcoming Reception, by the Guangdong Government, together with all the other participants of the Tourism and Culture Festival.
This was our second experience of traditional Chinese food, and we did our best to appreciate the chicken feet and sea cucumber-soup.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
After 24 hours of traveling we reached Guangzhou in Southerna China on Wednesday November 21. Due to the time difference it was allready night when we arrived, and we went straight to bed.
The first day we spent with our guide, Eva, visiting an anciant temple, a papercut factory and a porslain factory. We ate our first traditional Chinese lunch. Eva had ordered a bunch of Chinese dishes, that was put on the rotating cirkle in the middle of the table, for everyone to try. It was a new experience for us to be served cow stomack and kidey! But this turned out to be just the first one of our many food experiences in China...