Travels Through China
20th June 2006
This is me jamming with my buddies Nathan and Knut.
This is the very early days of Pope John and one Cardinal. We are jamming at Dan's Old Farmhouse.
This one is more recent:
These are some of my peeps. There's Gesh, Bauke, Jean, Andre, Sarah, Minke and Hamish. Well Gesh (sp?) isn't really one of my peeps. But his brother, Bauke, is. And I couldn't really chop him out of the photo now, could I?
These are my friends, Hassan and Marudan. They are from Xinjiang in far North Western China. If you are familiar with Xinjiang BBQ lamb then you know what I'm saying. They play an awesome blend of traditional Xinjiang music with Flamenco style guitar. Quite awesome.
Just in case you're not familiar with Xinjiang food:
Gosh has it really been that long? 4 months have gone by without an update. Apologies to my long-term fans.
So I guess life kinda got in the way. I have been living in Shanghai permanently since the middle of March, and for the month before that I was spending half of my time in Shanghai and the other half in a small place just outside of Hangzhou...
home to several universities and lots of hi-tech manufacturers. According to the city website ...
"Xiasha is in the north of Hangzhou, 30 minutes drive from the downtown area."
It then goes on to say ...
"Among all of Hangzhou’s three auxiliary towns, the current Xiasha is the one that enjoys the most convenient transportation, the most matured infrastructure and facilities, powerful industrial support and modern urban construction."
Ok, let's set things straight. Xiasha is a damn shanty town in the middle of nowhere. It takes around an hour on a either a leaking, cold and crowded bus, or a stinky, hot and crowded bus to get from downtown Hangzhou to Xiasha. I will admit that the transportation is convenient - there are many different buses going to Xiasha. But they suck. And the roads suck too. So much about the whole infrastructure of Xiasha sucked. But I dealt with it for a few weeks while I worked as a professional conversationalist and entertainer at the English Corner Cafe, at JiLiang University.
Here is a shot of some of the staff at the cafe:
These are some friends. The whitey is Sarah, my dear dear friend from California. Ryan is the dude sitting like he owns the joint. Crystal has her eyes shut.
I made some good friends. I sang covers and spoke to people. Most of the time was pretty boring as everyone was in class. But it started to fill up between around 6 and 9.30pm. But student life in Xiasha is not very interesting. They study most weeknds. And weeknights.
I did go out with a few of the Xiasha locals. We went into Hangzhou a few times and that was fun. But I was really bored in Xiasha and I was dying to get back to Shanghai.
The people that I was working for gave me a nice soft landing into China. But it was time for me to move on so by the middle of March I found myself a great new apartment and a new job in Shanghai.
I work wednesday to sunday teaching English to kids aged 4-14. For the younger kids it is truly like being on playschool. And the kids are gorgeous. But man sometimes it is hard to keep the attention of the littlest ones. Those that remember Gaga Ball will be pleased to know that it is an integral part of ALL my lessons.... except one class of 12 year olds who think it is a bit gay. Check out the Kid Castle website for a better picture of the world I inhabit ALL DAY Saturday and Sunday.
And I spend Tuesdays teaching guitar to the kids of expats at an exclusive private school out in whoopwhoop, western Shanghai.
I also play live quite a bit. I have a regular gig on Friday nights at a bar in Pudong called The Melting Pot. I play there with my band, Pope John and the Cardinals. We play covers and we have a lot of fun with them. We are also looking at Wednesday night residency beginning in August. Plus every night seems like jam-night in Shanghai. There is a very close music community here.
I went to Yellow Mountain at the beginning of May. I took so many photos that it deserves it's own page or two. Click here if you're interested.
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