Greetings from China!
We started by visiting Hong Kong (where we performed a joint concert with the Honk Kong Sinfonietta) - an amazing place that I would gladly revisit. Hong Kong is a very worldly, open city proud of its Chinese culture and heritage and of its appeal to the world at large.
Before our performance, we had three days to rest up and acclimatize to the new time zone. I sampled some delicious dim sum, investigated many different areas (by ferry) and went to The Peak - a high point with an unbeatable view. Here are some shots :
From there, we crossed into mainland China, to the city of Guangzhou. Mainland China is completely different from Hong Kong in every way, which led many of us to experience some culture shock. A few small groups went to see the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, which was a very beautiful, peaceful, and green space. The scent of incense was everywhere. The Great Hall within the temple was the highlight for me:
A friend and I investigated the neighbourhoods further, which was really interesting. We performed that night with the view of the Canton Tower in sight.
We are now in Chongqing, a rather large city at 33 million people which I had never heard of. This area is known for its Szechwan cuisine, and we have been sampling many of the finest regional specialties - the best of which is hot pot:
We did a run-out concert in Fuling (a "small" city of 1 million) last night, and tonight we perform in Chongqing.
After spending a couple of days in Tianjin, a city known for its sections of European-style architecture, we moved on to Beijing. Most of the orchestra spent their free time in the Silk Market, buying scarves, pearls, and having specific items of clothing made for them. Another Beijing highlight was the roast duck (Peking Duck), which I got to sample two nights in a row.
(The trick is to dip the skin into sugar...)
We also visited the wall, which was a major highlight of the trip!
Our final few days in Beijing and Shanghai were quite amazing, with some really moving and inspiring performances.
What an amazing trip!