The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Shanghai Day 7 - 17th Sep 2012

Was an early start with the wakeup call at 6.15am. We all had to be down the in lobby at 7.30, with our overweight bags and room keys ready to check out. All a bit drowsy we piled onto the bus for our last bus ride with Jackie. It took us about an hour to get to the airport. When we arrived Jackie helped us to check in for our flight. We then headed to our departure gate where finally the time had come to leave our much loved tour guide Jackie. We did a fling and then sung our Waiata, a few of us getting a bit teary.
We were all very sad at having to leave Jackie behind. After a delayed start we finally took off leaving Beijing and all the amazing experiences we had behind, as well as excellent freeWi-Fi.
When we arrived in Shanghai, we were met by crowds of people and the humid airport air once again. After walking about five minutes Emma remembered she had left her hat in the overhead compartment! After a fast sprint back to the plane and a great re-enactment of security running with her, Emma was reunited with her beloved hat. With all our bags (and hats) we went to meet our new tour guide Shelly. Following Shelly’s blue doughnut as a flag and enduring multiple elevator trips we made our way to the bus. We arrived at our hotel and checked in. We then had about an hour to put our hair up, throw some make-up on, get into our kilts and look spectacular for our parade rehearsal. Who would have thought it would have been the boys last down!
DINNER!! Shelly took us to a very nice restaurant where we quickly dined in our kilts before we had to head off to the destination of our very…very…very…long rehearsal. We all got off the bus and piled into the courtyard of what seemed to be a school, heaving up what felt like a thousand flights of stairs to our make-shift dressing room on the final floor of many. Peering down over the balcony, we see that the courtyard is filled to its fullest with costumes, colours, and instruments of a variety from all different cultures. After running through and perfecting our one minute dance sequence for the parade in our room, we finally, after a long wait, gathered down at the bottom of the stairs, feeding out in amongst all the other people. We then had another run through of our dance, with a few slips here and there from the wet ground, finishing off with photographs being taken with the other performers. Next came the real deal rehearsal out on the streets, but it was a long time coming, after having to wait out many hours till it was our turn to perform. But it was a very interesting wait! In front of us was the Italian band with their hand made instruments, including a toilet, giant pliers and a clothing rack of “womans delicates”. Behind us was an extremely lively group who looked to be like folk people, keeping us entertained with their endless traditional music and dances. We slowly, made our way, with sore feet from the concrete, onto the area of which we were to dance on in front of potential V.I.P’s and a massive crowd on all sides of the dance space. There was a slight complication with our music but we kept on dancing with our heads held high, though, finishing only to find that we had to repeat the entire parade again... So there we were again, spread out on our bags trying to hide our tired eyes, when out came the brightly lit floats, filling up the streets with such amazing colours! Everyone was then a little more perked up, with hot chips filling our tummy’s to help sustain us through the long night. Then it was our time to shine once more and after that we headed back to the bus.
Arriving back at the hotel at 2.15am, we all quickly headed back up to our rooms (after finally figuring out how to work the elevators) for as good of a sleep as we could have, for the real thing the next day!
Isabelle and Shirana.

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The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Inc., PO Box 5470, Palmerston North
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