My Little Red Book of Reflections

Friday Morning, 3:14 a.m.

I woke up an hour ago and could not, for the life of me, go back to sleep. So, I’m down in the lobby of the Nikko Narita hotel in Tokyo, Japan. It’s been a crazy couple of days. Our first two flights went along without a hitch (except the second flight, which, according to itinerary, was supposed to be 3 hours long…when not considering the massive time shift. It ended up being 13 hours long!) But our third flight from Tokyo to Beijing ended up getting cancelled due to bad weather! We ended up spending 10 hours in Narita National Airport before finally leaving for our swanky Japanese hotel. AUGH!! Sorry, I was just attacked by a spider! But it disappeared already…

Some Reflections:

1. Basketball players are EXTREMELY tall (we met/were stalked by an Argentinean basketball team in the Narita airport).

2. “Arigato” is my new favorite word to say 🙂

3. Sushi from an airplane should NEVER be eaten!! Blech!!

Bye for now! 🙂

Sunday Morning 6:54 a.m.

China has been AMAZING!! The buildings, the people, the FOOD!! It’s been so much fun! Saturday morning, after taking a morning flight from Tokyo to Beijing (which, conveniently, the Argentineans were ALSO on…told you we were being stalked!), we visited the Summer Palace. The place was GORGEOUS. And we met this crazy awesome Chinese man that looked like Hatori Hanzo from Kill Bill 🙂 Afterwards, we had the Peking Duck dinner. Which was awesome. I’m happy to say, I’m now a proficient user of chopsticks! And yesterday, we hit up Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, which were ALSO amazingly beautiful. Following the tourist sites, we headed over to the National Center for the Performing Arts. It is, EASILY, the largest, grandest concert hall, building I’ve EVER been in. That place was gigantic!! It even had multiple halls inside the one building! There was actually and opera being rehearsed at the same time we were rehearsing and performing (which was actually kind of mind-boggling…). The performance we did that night was actually very nerve-wracking. Especially because, according to Mr. Peters, Chinese audiences are more loud/animated? or something… I was just worried because after each piece, we received the polite, moderate applause you’d expect from here in the states after a slow piece. They didn’t even get fired up about us playing the Spring Festival Overture! It wasn’t until after we played our final piece, selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, that our audience exploded into applause and didn’t stop for like, 10 minutes. It was great! Especially because I was worried that they didn’t like the concert and we wouldn’t get to play the Hoe-Down (my favorite piece!) which is our encore piece! Afterwards, we went to a six STORY MALL (!) for dinner. We ate at McDonald’s lol. The drink sizes are smaller, the burgers and stuff are small and a little odd tasting, but the FRIES were WAYYY better than American McDonald’s fries! Tonight, we take the overnight train to Shanghai. I’m definitely looking forward to Shanghai and the rest of our trip!

Reflections:

1. Usually, something that smells bad will taste bad. For instance, these mushroomish things at the duck dinner. Smelled absolutely foul (no pun intended!), tasted worse and had the texture of human ears. Will NOT be trying these again anytime soon.

2. The Chinese have this thing with rocks. There are random huge rocks all throughout the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, supposedly to give luck and keep out evil. There’s even a huge rock that they call the Bad Luck rock which caused two emperors to go bankrupt!

3. The Chinese also have this thing with gelatinous masses. Two different desserts were just big, balls of gelatinous stuff. Not the greatest things in the world, btw…

4. Chinese people LOVE taking pictures of/with Americans. We have the joke that the only reason Chinese people visit all these tourist locations that we’re going to is to take pictures of us. Seriously, I’ve seen more cameras pointed at us than at the palaces and statues!

5. Street vendors are kind of scary. I was chased for 20 minutes by someone trying to sell me the little red book of Communism. He would not go. Until we left Tiananmen Square.

6. I WANT AN ERHU!!! We saw some students from the Chinese conservatory play their Chinese instruments. They. Were. AMAZING. LOVED IT!!!

Julian T.

Julian with Chinese Man at Summer Palace

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One Response to “My Little Red Book of Reflections”

  1. Marian wagner Says:

    Thank you, Julian. Great to read you. Again and again! Say hello to Oliver for me. Manny

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