Because we were invited, last minute, to be one of the performers on a very popular t.v. show in Beijing, we immediately made arrangements to fly back from Shenzhen. The program will air as part of their New Years broadcast. James Blunt and Steve Vai performed on the show as well. Our promoter, Annie, tried to facilitate a meeting with us, (mainly Carlo), and Steve Via, but unfortunately we never did meet him.
When we arrived at the front steps of the t.v. studio, a well-dressed and cheerful woman led us to the top floor. The room, filled with dusty backdrops and forgotten props, was divided into dressing rooms for all the artists. After an hour or two of staring at each other and picking at snickers bars and pringles, our host directed us to the second level where pretty Chinese men applied our makeup and fixed our hair. Dia and I had a difficult time talking to Carlo and keeping a straight face, since we were not used to seeing him so dolled up. They crimped Dia's hair and chose bright pink lipstick for her. She said, "I'm going back to the 80's!" as she relaxed back into the makeup chair, closed her eyes, and allowed the chatty men to complete their dirty work.
After James Blunt and his band finished their performance, we scurried onto the stage to begin ours. We had a difficult time understanding whether this performance was a rehearsal or would be the actual taped performance. A few bystanders sat in the audience along with a Chinese man, passionately waving about a laser. First he aimed the red dot directly at Dia's eye balls and then zig-zagged it across the stage, in order to show her where she should stand and walk.
Later that evening, while waiting for our dinner to arrive, I told everyone that I thought touring is like a crawfish dinner.
"How so?" Dia asked.
"Before you are able to eat a crawfish, you spend an inordinate amount of time and effort struggling to remove a rough shell in order to enjoy a tiny little piece of seafood. It's the same way with tour. We travel, wait, and go through all of this effort only to play a tiny little twenty-minute set. Though the dainty crawfish's meat may be a small reward, that meat is so succulent and juicy, it is worth all the trouble. Great shows are the same way. The feelings they inspire are SO worth all the effort and work necessary to play them!"
Our conversation then turned to relationships like it always seems to do, since we are two lonely females on tour, (and now one lonely man missing his new wife back home). Annie tells us about her Chinese culture. She is 27 years old and still single. She says that her culture places a lot of stress on women of her age to be married and settled. They call women like her, "left-over ladies."
"Well, I'm a leftover lady too," I told her. We comforted our tender hearts by digging into a bowl of sweet mango sago, a delicious and popular desert found all over South East Asia. It kind of tastes like a thicker Indian mango lassi with tiny tapioca pearls and pieces of shredded pomelo sprinkled on top. (Some of you have commented that I write quite a lot about food during these travels. (Guilty as charged!) So I'm trying to keep myself from writing too much about food, but it is HARD I tell you!!!)
Dia, Annie, and I launched into a long discussion about the differences between her culture and our culture when it comes to marriage and relationships. Of course, Carlo yawned after listening to only a few moments of our discourse. He started a conversation with our Chinese monitor guy about the pleasures of drinking alcohol. Jerry didn't have much to say on the topic except that his nickname is "One Bottle Down." And well, I guess you can figure out why they call him that.
Now that we have moved on to our next city, I'm already missing the "Leftover Lady" and "One Bottle Down Man" :(
We still have Hong Kong, Manilla, Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, and Jakarta left. Here's a rundown of our remaining shows if anyone would care to join the party!
January 21st - Makati, Philippines @ Hard Rock Cafe
January 25th - Penang, Malaysia @ Hard Rock Cafe
January 27th - Singapore, Singapore @ TAB
January 29th - Bangkok, Thailand @ Hard Rock Cafe
January 30th - Bali, Indonesia @ Hard Rock Cafe
January 31st - Jakarta, Indonesia @ Hard Rock Cafe