Audition and recruitment tour in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I am writing from the final day of auditions in Beijing! We have had an amazingly successful trip again this year, although it has not been without some trying moments. For me, my bad luck started when we arrived in Guangzhou. My suitcase arrived with one wheel fully broken, and one partially broken, so I have had to drag it along behind me or utilize a luggage cart at the airport. I think it is time for a new suitcase anyway, but it has made traveling more difficult.
My luck worsened on the first day of auditions in Guangzhou. Before the first audition started, my camera fell off the table and broke! That was a difficult way to start the busiest leg of the trip, but luckily, Shaun had brought a backup camera that has worked fine since.
My situation became more difficult when we arrived in Beijing. After dragging my suitcase up to my room, I tried to lift it onto the luggage rack and I pulled my back and collapsed into a heap on the floor. I haven’t felt pain like this in a long time! I eventually made my way to the bathroom for some ibuprofen and a hot bath. Since then, my back has getting moderately better each day, and I will make sure I have plenty of medication for the trip home. I’m not looking forward to sitting on the plane for 14 hours…but, I will live :-)
Another issue in mainland China has centered around Internet use and censorship. Since wifi is not available in the audition locations in mainland China, we have been using 3G hotspots or tethering to our iPhones. Some group members had been using Facebook only to find that Internet access had been blocked the following day, particularly if they had been discussing Chinese politics. Having inconsistent and intermittent Internet is very difficult to cope with when we are all trying to keep up with work and connect with people from back home. Mike was also watching CNN one day only to find that a news story about a Chinese political leader was “interrupted” for about two minutes mid-broadcast. Events like these make me appreciate our right of free speech and free press in the US.
Plus, we have had the additional stress of Hurricane Sandy bearing down on our homes and families. We have been trying to stay informed through text messages and online news outlets, but it has been difficult because of the time difference. Thankfully, all of our loved ones are safe. As of right now, our travel plans seem to be still on track. My flight will be connecting through Detroit, and I think I will be able to arrive home on time. We are still waiting for more information for Amy’s flight since she is flying into JFK, and most of NYC is still in a state of emergency.
Mainland China was not all bad, though! We have had many great meals as well as many hilarious moments. We had a good laugh in Guangzhou when our “van” arrived at the hotel to pick us up. It turned out to be a 40-passenger bus for the six of us! It was nice to have the extra space, but it was quite comical to see this giant bus pull up for us whenever we needed transportation during our stay.
A couple of meal highlights included a traditional dinner in Guangzhou, eating at a famous restaurant in Shanghai where President Clinton and Fidel Castro have eaten, and a “hot pots” dinner where they provide an apron and plastic sleeves to protect your clothes while you search for food from the boiling pots of soup.
Through all of these interesting adventures, we have been listening to a dizzying number of auditions. In China alone, we have heard 250 over the past ten days. OK, enough for now – it’s time for me to get back to the auditions! I will send one more update after I have arrived safely home.
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