On the road; one suitcase, one carry on. So what do we pack and how do we manage to squeeze it all in? Well, here in Riverdance we are forced to condense all our favorites and essentials into one small bag. So when we do it, we do it good. I have once again picked several cast and crew members to pour their hearts out and divulge their most personal item which they feel they cannot live without.
Moving onto one of the most memorable moments on tour, a visit to the Great Wall of China in Mutianyu. We were extremely lucky to visit the day after Chinese New Year celebrations since we experienced an un-crowded and sunny trip to this magnificent “Wonder of the World”……………
This has been a wonderful tour of China and I hope you have enjoyed my visual documentation of this colorful, diverse and welcoming country.
Sitting in my hotel room in Changsha, it made me wonder about Riverdance in 1994 “back in the day” and how difficult it was keeping in contact with loved ones when lets face it, there were very little methods of overseas communication. Speaking to Niamh O’Connor, my dance captain and the only original dancer from the show from its inception, I try to gain an understanding of how things have changed. “There was no such thing as the internet. The only thing we could do was buy phone cards to phone home with…..
We were welcomed to Chengshu by a huge sign at the entrance to our hotel referring to us as “The Hoofers of Riverdance”. A girly afternoon followed as me, Nicola, Nicole and Fiona took a wander through the hutongs of Chengshu. Later that night after a long search for food, we were once again propped on little stools at an intriguing little family restaurant. We returned on the second night and although it is impossible to tip in China, we sneakily left double our bill amount (£6.60 for 6 people!!) and exited quickly.
We had a few great days in Heifei……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!).
After carefully selecting my images for this week’s blog, I realized they all share one common theme. All of them convey how I have encountered different aspects of Chinese culture on tour. Whether it’s through a bus window or during a ravenous search for street food, I happened upon some intriguing and foreign aspects of daily life here in China.
I have always been fascinated by cultures and a countries traditions, but in particular cuisine and food. So, upon agreeing to this tour I polished off my palate and decided to really absorb all the tastes of food that China had to offer.
Whether its walking down the street at night, waiting at the train station or simply standing outside a bank there is always someone eating something. Now as I mentioned in a previous blog, I am adventurous but I am no Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern. I wouldn’t last too long on the Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods’ however, I have put together a list of strange and bizarre foods that I have seen, touch, smelled and even heard, but taste, eh, not necessarily!
After Zhengzhou, we were ready to brace the extreme cold of Inner Mongolia and arrived early afternoon to Hohhot. With temperatures as low as -21C, it was no surprise that the majority of the cast stayed indoors. Our talented physical therapist, Garrett Dockery fully embraced the weather however and went wandering. Not long later, he informed me he spotted a group of locals ice skating on the frozen pond and decided to join them..no bother to Garrett!
Browsing Panjiayuan Outdoor Antique market down in the South Chaoyang district and I was not prepared for the cold. Forced to duck in and out of jade and amber dealers’ booths to warm up, I braved the biting arctic winds. Although the weather was unwelcoming, the local dealers were not.
We have really been travelling far and wide since my last blog and I was extremely excited to experience Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. Preferably I would have ventured out more during my time there, but the cold air was intense,