Qingdao, Kunshan, Zhangjiagang, Tizhou and Birthday celebrations in Heifei.
Maeve Fearon, Irish Dance Troupe, China Tour
It’s been a busy few weeks here in the East. Flighting between a plane seat, (excuse the pun), my beloved heavy shoes, the wonderful daily randomness in China and some lengthy conversations over Tetley’s tea and a good film (I would safely say I’ve watched about 20 films in two weeks!) I feel like I haven’t had a minute.
In Qingdao, we found the most amazing coffee shop/wine bar called “Deja Vu” and “Deja Vu” it was since we spent every minute of the day in this place. Whether it was digging into our breakfast bagels, tucking into an amazing Caesar Salad or sipping some delicious red wine whilst enjoying chilli fries at night, this gem literally saved our lives. We didn’t venture far apart from a short jaunt to one of the many beaches in Qingdao. Apart from the cold weather, this beach was wonderful and I would imagine it to be extremely busy when summer comes around. We also visited the local mall and picked up some necessities at a local pharmacy. The staff at “Deja Vu” were run off their feet for four days. We also met a lot of other westerners who are teaching English there, and made the most of being able to meet other English speaking visitors.
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Next up was Kunshan and probably one of the hardest days to date. Finding food was terribly difficult upon arrival. After spending hours travelling, we walked for miles in search of decent food and ended up settling for a Chinese buffet style takeaway. The following day we did little but get some food at a local Chinese restaurant and watched “It’s Complicated” after the show. After a quick stay in Changshu, we travelled after our show here to Zhangjiagang, staying in much larger apartment-style rooms equipped with washing machines….score!! Apart from “The food situation”, the other huge struggle we have is finding proper washing facilities in China so needless to say the whole troupe spent their time washing their clobber and re-packing our suitcases. I also enjoyed a lengthy lunch with James Keating on the 20th floor of a nearby building (as you do!). The view was phenomenal as was the food and James is quite a character so he kept me entertained!
Tizhou followed and onwards and upwards, we had a few great days in Heifei. After a rather lengthy bus journey, we enjoyed some fantastic street food outside our hotel and were glammed and ready in preparation for Emma Warren and Niamh O’Connor’s birthdays. The local German bar named Bacchus was the party spot, chosen of course after much research on TripAdvisor (A note to anyone visiting, VPN for accessing Facebook, Twitter etc, TripAdvisor and any free translation app you can find are your best friends!). The food was delicious and the resident band were great. Emma is a fantastic singer and joined them for a few hits. Myself and Craig Mason also joined in as backing singers for Tina Turner’s classic “Rolling on a River” and of course no night would be complete without a few tunes from Peta Anderson!
The following day, we just chilled out at our hotel and bought a cake from one of the many superb bakeries here in China. A huge chocolate cake, freshly baked and prepared for a measly £7.80, equipped with candles, birthday hats etc. As the saying goes however, nothing ever goes to plan. Just before we were about to leave for the second last bus of the day, the cake fell a whooping 17 floors to the ground after being knocked off the windowsill! Shaun Kelly, the culprit had to make a rather quick dash back to the bakery and hastily ordered a new one in the nick of time. But, I must admit, at this stage nothing phases me here, maybe that’s why the Chinese people are so relaxed and care-free…Anything goes..Take note! : )