Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chinese New Year is a long week

So, what did i do the rest of the week? Here's a recap, with lots of pictures. For reference, Sunday night was the ridiculous, neverending fireworks show, and also the official beginning of the new year. The rest of the week was still peppered with daily and nightly fireworks and the resulting car alarms from the shockwave, but i had a few other adventures as well. And lots of quality camera time.

Temple Fair
From what i can tell, this is the chinese version of a carnival with games of chance, food, and artsy things for sale. They even had a booth dedicated to selling mops. I haven't figure that one out yet. Outside, there were kids playing on the frozen river and more fireworks.

Sensory overload... too many colors and people and objects that don't make sense.

Between the Tuesday night open mic, and practices on Thursday and Friday, i played 8 hours of music this week. The new band (still officially nameless) has been playing a lot, and it looks like we've incorporated a 4th member: Jon Kelly from London. He's a good bloke. Pictures!

Our little band. Click on the picture of just me for a close up of this weeks "Scary Kev Eyes" entry.

At the practice space. This place is fantastic... it's tucked away in some truly beautiful hutongs, it's cheap (about $7/hour) and they have drums, amplifiers, cables, and microphones already there. It's really pretty ideal, even the location is central.

I spent four nights out at the other side of town, staying out late, sleeping in two different beds and on one couch. This is quite convenient when i don't have to work the next day, because EVERYONE lives over there. And usually i make myself appreciated by cooking breakfast the next morning.

Thursday night was a great party at Yin's place. Good food, music, games, beer, friends, etc. We did stupid things like launched fireworks out of her 6th floor window and we ate a raw onion like an apple. One person took a big bite and passed it around the table. Between seven of us, we finished it. It was far worse than it sounds. You know how cutting an onion sometimes makes you cry? This makes you cry from the inside, and from your own, stupid stupid breath. I also got to dance some salsa with Yin and Helen. Someone put on Buena Vista Social Club, one of my all-time favorite albums. There's a video of Yin and i floating around... i'll post it when it becomes available.

Hutongs and Bike Dudes
Loosely tied into the band practice was two days of exploring the hutongs around there. I dusted off my bike after a hard winter, pumped up the tires, and took it for some adventuring. The weather finally broke and we had a few days in the pleasant 50's. Here's the Drum and Bell tour, posing with my awesome, old school bike.

The famous bike taxi dudes of Beijing. I should probably know what they are actually called, but i don't. They are pretty cool and friendly. One of these days i'll get around to hiring one for a ride.

A few cool passageways.

And no tour through Beijing hutongs is complete without some cat sitings.

And that's about it. I'm ready to go back to work, but i'm also very glad i had the chance to enjoy a little more Beijing than i used to. This was a very good week.


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