I just returned from a week long tour of 3 cities in central China – Wuhan, Lanzhou, and Bao Ji.
The first show I had was on the 30th of September, the eve of Chinese National Day, at a club in Wuhan, the capitol of Hubei Province. I had the show with Tenzin “Plump Fingers” Gyaltsen, my favorite American/Tibet from San Francisco. Outside of the club was a giant graffiti mural which local artists had made – they did a great job and I took photos but evidently left my camera behind a few days later (my old pocket camera, not my DSLR). So it was a hip hop show with me on the black plastic toy-like CD players and big Tenzin on the microphone. We rocked about a 90 minute set and had a great time – I rolled through a dozen classics in short order and Tenz sang along. Good times.
The next day he returned to Chengdu and I spent the day in my hotel reading news on the internet about the financial meltdown and watching movies on the circular bed in my hotel room (which I also photographed before losing the camera, damnit). I downloaded The Rocker (starring Dwayne from The Office) and Indiana Jones 4 but was so loathing Indy 4 from all the negative buzz I’ve heard that I didn’t even bother watching it. The Rocker was somewhat of a slave to formula (mostly biting Jack Black in School of Rock) but had its moments.
After a day off lounging in the hotel room I caught a flight to Lanzhou where the temperature dropped about 25 degrees. Suddenly it’s cold and I’m eating nothing but meat (in north west China style, vegetables are for wimps). Played a pretty mediocre show, again on DJ CD players (once again, I hate them) and got to bed early to catch an 8am train to the city of Bao Ji.
Now if not for any other reason, this place is interesting for its name. I had heard Bao Ji several times in my sleepy early-morning state but it wasn’t until I had the train ticket in my hand that I could see how the name was written. The city literally means Treasure Chicken or Precious Chicken (literal translation from Chinese-English is always shaky as nearly every character has multiple meanings). I asked in the train station why the city was named that but no one could tell me. I arrived in Bao Ji after a few hours of sleeping on the train and a few more playing Final Fantasy IV on nintendo DS (this game is pure old school RPG nostalgia, I had it nearly memorized 15 years ago). I didn’t manage to get the full story but was told that the namesake for the city is infact an ancient chicken. That’s really all I wanted to confirm, anyway.
I played a pair of shows in Bao Ji along with three Russian dancers that I traveled with last year. This year they’re doing a Batman show. That is, the guy (Pacha) dresses up as Batman and the two girls with him are two Catwomen. Then they do all this flashy synchronized dance stuff that looks like it was choreographed for Russians. The three of them are all outstanding dancers and they work great together. I took video of it (on my camera, naturally).
I returned home at noon today to find my girlfriend still sleeping – lucky her, I woke up at 5:30 to take a three hour car ride to Xian to catch a flight back to Chengdu. After eating delicious sichuan food (which I had really missed after only a week) we went to a Sports Authority-like store I’d never been to where I found some size 12 Asics and maybe more significantly, SWEATPANTS. certain things are really difficult to find here -sweatpants, large shoes being two of them. Booya!