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US CitySlicker Jeff goes to China

Earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to be asked to play percussion with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra on their greater China tour. We played 7 concerts in 7 different cities over the course of 3 weeks! Luckily, there was also just enough down time to explore a bit. Read on to hear about the highlights of my trip!

Photo by jeffr

After a 16 hour flight and a nights rest, we headed to the Taipei National University of Arts for our first orchestra rehearsal.

Photo by jeffr

We stuck around the campus a little while and to my surprise, there were water buffalo on one of the lawns!

Two days later, we were in Hong Kong, where we played in a beautiful concert hall called the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, right by the water. The hall had seats that wrapped around the stage, so I was able to get a cool angle on the orchestra during the dress rehearsal!

One of the days we were in Hong Kong, we stopped at Repulse Bay and Victoria Peak.

Photo by jeffr

Although it was cloudy, the view was amazing from the top. What an amazing juxtaposition of the mountains alongside Hong Kong’s skyscrapers!

I also caught someone else using an analogue camera up there! :)

Photo by jeffr

Next stop was Shanghai, where we spent four days at the Park Hotel – once the tallest building in all of China!

Photo by jeffr

It’s hard to imagine it being the tallest with all of the today’s modern buildings towering over it like this one close by.

Photo by jeffr

In Shanghai, we visited the market at Yuyuan Garden. And though I’m not big into souvenirs, it was nice to walk through the streets and browse the little shops.

The highlight of Beijing, besides playing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, was of course visiting the Great Wall of China. Fortunately we went to a less touristy spot called Mutianyu, so it was less crowded. The view was amazing but it was quite a trek walking up 1400 steps just to get there! I was so focused on walking up those steps, I didn’t even think to photograph the hike up – definitely the most difficult hike I’ve ever experienced.

We visited Guangzhou next, and though I didn’t get many photographs of it, it was one of my favorite cities in China. The Guangzhou Opera House where we played was one of the most beautiful halls I’ve ever performed in (and it looked like a space ship from the outside). During the daytime, we visited the Qing Ping Market, where I was told they sell some pretty exotic things (like monkey brains). I was honestly anxious to see some, but didn’t find any. What we did find were a bunch of shops that sold various dried goods as well as a pet shop district!

And that about wraps up the highlights of the China tour. Though I only mentioned four cities, we also visited Tianjin, Wuhan, and Shenzhen. Another 16 hour flight and we were back home in New York City.

Photo by jeffr

written by jeffr

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