Company Dancer Lisa Edwards sent us her diary from Suzhou. Photos coming soon…
Wednesday 16 March
After a long trip from Brisbane we finally arrived in Suzhou.The company flew into Shanghai and here we were met by John Ballard, our tour organiser, and ” Alice ” (her English name), our tour manager. Alice is a very bright, bubbly, and funny lady willing to go out of her way to ensure we have a wonderful experience in China.
We took a bus transfer to Suzhou, experiencing for the first time what the Chinese roads were like! This was just the beginning. The company had the rest of the day free so quite a few little groups ventured to the Old Town, which is surrounded by a moat, giving the city the name of ” The venice of the east ” .
It is very cheap to travel by taxi, just a little bit crazy and a little bit scary. It was an experience in itself. Cars will go wherever they want, up the footpath, the wrong side of the road, u turn at any point and beeping horns seems to be almost a sport! Not to forget the mopeds and bikes thrown into the mix! There were also no seatbelts in the back, you just had to hold on tight. All of us are finding these cab experiences priceless : )
The old city had a great mix of market shops with silks, paper cutting, jewellery, hand embroidery and interesting chinese sweets. Whilst at the market I was also approached by a group of teenage girls who all wanted an individual photo with me! The blonde hair is definitely getting me a lot of extra attention here. Mel and Frances had a good laugh while they took photos of the girls taking photos with me.
Thursday 17 March
But we are here to perform! Off to the theatre the today for our first tech rehearsal. The Grand Theatre was a massive space, making it quite a challenge to fill, and also quite cold. It did take a lot of time to get both acts done and so we were a little concerned as we did run out of time. However in our QB spirit we all pulled together for opening night. The audience was quite modest, but there wasn’t much talking on phones or distractions as we had been told might happen. The second show had an excellent response, Yu Hui also receiving extra applause for his act two solo ( yah Yu hui ! ) He has also been working very hard translating and informing us – we are very grateful for that.
Saturday 19 March
After the matinee, show two, we had the evening free and a lot of us headed out into the bright and bustling city nightlife. Myself, Rachael, Melissa, Gareth and Anne found ourselves at a Chinese Hotpot for dinner. It was a long process to order and quite funny, but we had a lovely, tasty meal. This area did get us a lot of attention from street sellers offering us “very cheap ” prices for watches and other items.
Since here I have learnt that if there is a que and a space between you and the person in front, someone will cut in front of you. So don’t be surprised! Hailing taxis, you have to be ruthless! It has been interesting learning these quirks of a culture so different to ours.
Sunday 20 March
It was our last morning in Suzhou today. Alice had organised for some ladies who knew Queensland Ballet was in town, to show us some pearl jewellery at amazing prices. All the girls were very happy to do some extra shopping without having to leave the hotel.
There are so many stories to tell and so many experiences to share. We hope you look forward to hearing more of our Chinese Whispers! Thanks for following our adventure!
See you in a few weeks, Lisa xox