Saturday we had no 'English Club' session, cancelled because of final examinations at the University. We had planned this to be the last session before summer vacation, but then came the late word (it's always a surprise in Asia!).
So, on Saturday XTRicha and I went off to the Wangguozhang Bicycle Club to register for the races the following Saturday and Sunday! We had also planned to ride the mountain-bike race course, but no one knew about it. Yao Guo Hui, the race director was out of town.
But, XTR had the idea to go up Nan Shan, and have lunch outside. We ended up staying all afternoon, as so nice. You sit at tables under canopies, and 'fu yuan' (waitresses) bring you food and drink. Other vendors come by and sell yogurt or sing you a song. We both had the great homemade yogurt of Qinghai, then paid a young man 10RMB to sing us a song. I had my favorite ba bao cha (herbal tea). And since we were early (few people) the food came quickly!
Afterwards XTR invited two friends, Xiao He and 'Lisa' (both students and friends from 'Haaqi's English Club'). They came and we sat, drank, danced, and played with the children (that are everywhere in China).
Then XTR had to return to the office and meet our accountant. I stayed and enjoyed doing nothing but watching Chinese 'party.' They love to play games, and dominoes seemed to be the most popular.
In a nearby pond a vendor had setup his equipment (life-size plastic sacks that blow up into balls) and was selling 'time in a ball!' I've seen this before in the U.S., but very popular now in XiNing. We put Lisa in, and she floated, rolled, and fell over inside this zipped-up 'boat.' Of course we videotaped her bouncing around as XTR and Xiao He had fun yanking on the rope, then shoving her out away from the 'dock.' Crazy the ingenuity of mankind, devising these diversions in order to pay the rent. I think it cost 40RMB / $3.00U.S. for ten minutes, and he had no shortage of customers (mostly kids).
I headed down the hill when the daily 'monsoon' storm blew in, and 'snow' fell! Well, it looks like it's snowing as millions of these fuzzy seeds blow out to make more trees. The last few days the area has been thick with them, the wind (feng) coming up every afternoon (showers).
Sunday I cranked out alone in quest of a building on a southwest hill. I never found the road up to the building, but discovered a new apartment complex reminding me of Scottsdale, Arizona (there in 1989). I'm thinking I've written about this in a previous 'BLOG?' I'll have to check, as I can't keep things straight anymore.
I ended up in West Park, sitting in the sun! Ah, that was heaven to me, as it's been cloudy for one solid week. I keep asking the locals if the weather we're having is 'normal' and they say yes! So, Spring and early summer turns out to be the wet time of year in XiNing. But, Sunday afternoon was just perfect, me sitting on a bench facing the setting sun! Chinese people don't like strong sunlight and were sitting in the shade, some flying kites, some dancing, and kids running, jumping, riding, skating, and never still! Me, I hardly moved (my age)!
Monday, we went to see a 'show' ('program') in the Qinghai Theater. XTRicha had informed me Mr. Du's Government 'group' was putting on something that I never quite understood. XTRicha had put his Chinese into the software translator, and 'Sanitation,' came back, so I was expecting something about garbage.
The 'show' turned out to be well produced, but overly long. I don't know how many song and dance numbers most having to do with the virtues of modern medicine. It was really a three-hour AD (commercial) for a hospital! But, we had friends involved so we wanted to support (Mr. Du's free tickets). 'There's no business like show business!' But, in China it's all Government business!
I was impressed with the dancing, and one female singer, but the actors need to come to our class! It's all melodrama in China, as the audiences are very unsophisticated (but not unlike Broadway actually).
There was one wild musical number with 'laowai' (foreigners) that I couldn't figure out. I first thought maybe African or Jamaican, but then later was informed, 'Guba,' XTR said. I finally figured out 'Cuba,' remembering the Spanish lyrics! It turns out that the Cuban Government runs an 'eye' hospital here in XiNing. A total surprise in a production that included mostly red flag waving, and white crosses!
After more than three hours, however, I was happy to get outside as stuffy in a 'packed house.' Outside da feng and grey clouds, but delightfully cool as we walked 'home' in some rain!
But, the rain here in XiNing, Qinghai, it's that 'desert kind of rain,' the kind that rarely gets all the way to the ground! It's not like Shanghai, where it can rain hard for days…
How people can like eastern China, is beyond me… It would be like living in the southeastern part of the U.S.! Ugh!
Tuesday, Zhayer came to town. XTRicha went to the RR station on Tuesday evening and picked him up. He lives and works in Urumqi, Xinjiang, A.R., that we are so familiar with (where XTR and I first met). We met Zhayer at the Giant Bicycle shop in U-town a year ago. He turned out to be a very good bicycle mechanic. Originally from Uzbekistan, he's mute (can't hear or speak). So, XTR writes Chinese notes and he responds. He has a fancy mobile that can write and display Chinese. He also know 'sign language, ' and has taught us to 'sign, 'I love you!'
We are glad to have him here, as he came to compete in the two bicycle races coming up this weekend. He had sent his bicycle earlier, so we went to WCC and retrieved and he put together again. Note: When you ship on the CRR you must box up for shipment.
Then we cranked up to Nan Shan for lunch and a view of XiNing. The girls came up and we ate and danced. It was a lovely afternoon, sunny and cool, perfect for me.
Later we had our 4th acting class at the dance studio. There had been some debate as to how I should teach acting to young Chinese students. XTR and 'June' both conveyed what they thought should be done, but only confused me. People, who have never done this, don't really know. I'm not really teaching 'acting,' but how to overcome your fear of performing and develop confidence. What I teach is 'life,' and how to be a success at whatever, which is the most important thing! 99% percent of the people who come to 'acting,' class won't even pursue a career in such (it's too challenging)! One out of one hundred will, or try to. I'm really interested in the other 99 that won't! The entertainment industry sucks!
The trick in performing (e.g., public speaking, etc.) is relaxation via breathing, which leads to concentration, which leads to the ability to perform. You have to get to the point of 'not caring' what others think of you or your performance! It took me years to discover these simple 'tricks.' But, mastering this takes much practice.
Anyway yesterday a good example, a young girl who was so shy she could hardly remember her name in front of the group. By the end of the session she was singing a song! Turns out she had been in the City only three days from a small remote village. No wonder so shy! Can you imagine? You there in the West have no idea of how these young girls grow up (subjugated) in remote China. Thus, I can hardly convey what a triumph this was for her! It does my heart good to witness these kinds of things (the reason I make the effort).
Giving is living to me!
Today we're off to check out the mountain-bike racing course!