The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Shanghai Day 3 - 11th Sep 2012

We were hussled out of bed with a 7am “Bonjour” wake up call, and a quick breakfast of French fries and fruit we prepared for our first China rehearsal.

It was deemed too expensive to hire a room to practice in, so we started off in the elevator lobby on the 6th floor. Unfortunately, there were people actually wanting to use the elevators, and the lack of air conditioning (need I remind everyone its 30degees here, and incredibly humid) meant that it wasn’t long before Richard and Peter were sent to find us a plan B! So we found ourselves the object of public curiosity dancing in the hotel carpark, we are pleased to be reassured that the Chinese audience found us, shall we say, interesting. Although the carpark had many appealing qualities, we still found ourselves truly sweating off last nights Peking Duck!

Much to our surprise the voice overs in the thistle and the fern have now been translated into Chinese, we watched intently so see the reaction of our audiences faces, and while we cant say for sure they understood, we certainly tripled our audience!

After 3 hours of the hardest lesson of our lives,  we headed up for a cold shower!
The next project for our free day was to head for the silk markets. Without our now famous tour guide Jacky, we had to attempt this venture on our own although his parting works were “While my body won’t be with you, I will be with you in my heart”.

The journey to the silk market:

1. The Bus
It looked like there was room for 5, yet we all managed to pile in, this wasn’t too much of a problem, until more and more people got on the bus at each stop – I don’t think the Chinese understand the concept of personal space! We knew we had to get off at stop number 6, what we didn’t know was whether we would all be able to get off before the doors shut! We give the bus system 5/10, attaining points on timeliness and value for money ($1 Yuan, 20cents NZ).

2. The Subway
The ticket lady was a little shocked when Sara went to order 29 tickets. Getting onto the train was another matter, trying to navigate the entrance and exit automated gates, luckily for the very nice Chinese man that gave us a very slow motion demonstration! We give the subway system an 8/10, for points on air-conditioning, speed, and clear signage, but it lost points for one little pick pocket that got away with a watch from someone’s wrist!

By some miracle we all made it, 29 accounted for at the entrance of the Silk market. Surprisingly, the market was indoors, 6 storeys of shopping each containing a different type of good. The art of buying was also quite difficult with pushy shop owners literally dragging you into the stores and having to barter for a good price, it was generally all in good spirits and it wasn’t long before we got into the spirit. Julie was told she was a “crazy lady” when suggesting a price deemed too low. Some of the team members were more barter savvy than others, and there were many bargains made. The boys had a good time, Leighton’s technique of flirting with the shop owners helped him attain a handmade “best quality in China” hat, Lewis spent all this time bartering and not actually buying, and Sam learnt his lesson not to stick with the girls, only coming home with one painted paper! Show and tell in the hotel was fun, with everyone showing off their purchases ranging from Harriet’s rainbow umbrella hat to handbags, sneakers, dresses and souvenirs. The only downside of show and tell was realising that you paid double what someone else did for the same item!
To end a fun but not so restful free day, we headed to the hotel restaurant for a little bit of western culture, good old fashioned burgers and fries!
We will leave you with the Chinese phrases learnt today
- Zai Zher (roughly pronounced seann truibhas) I want to get off the subway
- Tai Guile (roughly pronounced tequila) Too expensive

We will sleep well tonight.

Kate and Kendall

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