A Very Merry Christmas with Riverdance in Fuzhou and Wuhan!
Kevin Horton, Dancer, Bann company
We had a rather short travel day from Guangzhou to Fuzhou, which is always nice. The roads in China are not what you would call the best in the world, so the shorter the bus journey the better. What adds to it is the culture of honking the car horn. In China, it is polite to honk your horn while approaching a corner or intersection, so prepare yourself for an abundance of beeps if you travel over here. Another interesting fact about driving in China…there are basically no rules of the road and a drivers license is easily obtainable simply by owning a car. Yes, we feel like we are gambling with our lives everytime we get into a taxi!! Add honking with excessive lane changing and red light running and you have the typical Chinese roadway. It definitely makes for an interesting journey.
Fuzhou is by far not as big as Shenzhen or Guangzhou, and the company really noticed a bigger gap in the language barrier. Trying to do something had become a challenge this week, such as taking a taxi somewhere or ordering food (if you find food you can enjoy!) But in fairness, we ARE in China and they speak Chinese. We are the visitors! An interesting fact about Fuzhou concerns the gender relationships of its residents. Fuzhou males are perceived as being rather subservient to women. An example would be a Fujian male carrying many shopping bags behind their female partner while they shopped. This leads to the widely known Chinese fact that you “Don’t marry a Fuzhou woman.” Aside from gender roles, Fuzhou is also known for their Banyan trees, which is a fig tree. Although it is winter, the parks were still a great site to take in with many Banyan trees gracing the landscape.
We had Christmas Eve in Fuzhou, so after our evening performance a group of us ventured over to the posh Shangri-La Hotel for a midnight drink to celebrate Christmas! Since we are away from our families and in a country that does not celebrate Christmas, being with friends was the best way to spend the Holiday! We didn’t stay out late though, we had to fly to Wuhan on Christmas morning…
We arrived in Wuhan for Christmas to a food reception put on by the promoter where we all received traditional Chinese silk scarves as a gift to welcome us. Since we arrived on Christmas day, the company put on an amazing Christmas party for us on the 27th floor revolving restaurant of the hotel. The “Western” food and Chinese carolers (who tried really hard to pronounce each song) really made the night a great way to spend the holiday. The night was filled with laughter, great food and drink, and our final exchange of Secret Santa gifts, which we had been building up to for a couple of weeks.
We stayed in Wuhan until Tuesday with sell-out shows and then it was off to two more cities to finish off the week!
Speak to you all about Zhoushan and Hangzhou next time…