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Archive for August, 2011

China2

China Part II

Readers note: It seems that adversity, drama and heartache make for the best travel diaries. Not how great and beautiful everything is. The next few days lack a certain amount of drama. So if you’re into that sort of thing instead of some culture and a casual outsiders travels through China, skip the next couple days, because they might bore you.  Though it doesn’t get that much more exciting further on, just a tad so.

(also the formatting of these words and pics needs work, and will change.)

Day 5

Abe looks a little concerned which concerns me. We’re in the middle of nowhere at a gas station. Just got off a black market sleeper bus. His phone doesn’t appear to be working. He asks to borrow a policeman’s phone. (the policeman man like a lot in China seems way to young) After a little wait the Taxi comes to pick us up. Totally exhausted I fall asleep and wake up at the hotel in Xian.

I’m hoping we can go see the Terra Cotta warriors when we wake up. Abe told us they were about an hour and a half drive out of the city and sound check was around 6 or 7 but it was laid back.

I wake up around 11 or noon. Abe takes us out to the street to take a walk and get some breakfast. I ask if we can get a ride to the warriors. He says we won’t have enough time today, but we can try tomorrow. But we’ll have to choose between that and the Shoalin temple.

We walk around the city, get a cab to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda which is a large ziggurat-like structure in the center. It’s the first real site seeing we’ve been able to do and it’s great. We pay our entrance fee and walk into one of the buildings, which holds a large golden Buddha statue. Someone is praying to the statue. When they leave someone else starts to pray.

I’m shocked to see on the statues chest a large swastika. After my initial shock I realize that the swastika symbol is really an ancient symbol that the Nazi’s perverted. But still there’s a fucking swastika on the Buddha’s chest!

We go into some other small buildings before making out way to the big one.

In many of the buildings there are similar statues with the swastika on the chest. It’s unnerving. (Later that evening I look it up online the history of the symbol online  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika)

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Day 1

We fly from London to Amsterdam and then 10 hours or so to Shanghai. Sleep a little bit. Watched 2 moves, The Fighter and Source Code. I guess I read too much about The Fighter, it was ok, could have used a stronger ending.

When we get off the plane I am shocked by the heat and humidity. Quite strong.  I quickly remove my heavy jacket for fear of passing out on the runway.

Our host/promoter here in china is an American guy Abe. Originally from Idaho, he moved here 9 years ago to study martial arts, now he works various jobs including setting up tours for different bands. He’s done tours for Fucked Up, Das Racist, Yacht and others. He wanted Dinosaur Jr. and contacted their manager Brian Schwartz who was our manager at the time. I think Schwartz passed him on to us.

 

 

 

 

We go from the airport to a bus to a train to a taxi. The Taxi ride is crazy. Lots of aggressive driving and weaving in and out of traffic with motorbikes and other cars. Bikes and motor-scooter jet on into traffic and buzz by on the wrong side going against the traffic. We’re playing a city an hour from Shanghai called Nanjing, I think.

We drop our stuff off at the club and Abe takes us to a nearby restaurant. Whooowhoo real Chinese food! We take some probiotics recommended by my natural medicine roommate Stephen and hope we don’t get sick. Our first dish is tiny shellfish that are deep fried. You eat them whole with the shell on. Shocking. Chomp chompchomp. Delicious.

Abe warns us that the first show might be awkward and it is. It’s at a bar/club that has big rough Bob Marley mural on the back wall. It has a large nice stage and fancy gear for us to use, but we were told no one will care about us playing and just play dice. And it is true. Mostly. Some kids seem to listen. We play a pretty good rocking set to little to no applause.  After the show though Abe was surprised that we sold a few CDs and T-shirts.

Tonight we stay in a hotel with nice air-conditioning, wow the humidity outside is crazy. Not sure if it’s comparable to NY or what. Tomorrow we fly to a festival on a beach somewhere.

After the show we take our stuff to the hotel and go get some ice cream. I have a yummy green bean pop.

Abe tells us we have a 4 PM flight then a 2 hour drive to the festival on the beach. A band we know from the UK, on our same label, British Sea Power are also playing.

In the morning Abe wakes us and says the flight is actually at 2:30. So we quickly pack up. We have to get two taxis like the day before. I go with Abe. Our driver is even more aggressive a driver then our last one, weaving in and out of lanes and bike lanes, not caring who gets in his way.

We make it to the train and then to the airport.

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