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Published: March 20th 2019
Zhuhai > Shanghai
Day 16 was one of the craziest days of my three and a half week tour to China. We spent only a little more than 24 hours in Zhuhai, even though we had a concert there (that was just interesting) and then we had a flight to Shanghai that reached its destination more than four hours after it was supposed to, and I slept extremely late, but that’s coming later. First, breakfast. After that, our tour manager took us on a walk along the Zhuhai Pier. It was sweltering, and the fact that a sweater is part of our uniform did not help. On our walk, we saw the huge casinos of Macau, very close to hour hotel. We must have walked for longer than I thought because when we got back to the hotel, it was lunchtime. After lunch, we quickly changed and headed over to the Zhuhai Grand Theater. After a quick rehearsal, we had our matinee. We then rushed with our packed bags straight to the airport. I thought we were going to miss our flight, but I was very wrong. The flight was actually delayed by more than four hours. So my friends and I sat and played games and tried to kill the time. Finally, we boarded our flight at about 10 pm. At about 12:30, the plane finally landed. I was dreading this next part. I haven’t mentioned it before, but all the kids in our choir would have assigned jobs on each tour. Some kids sell our merchandise at the end of our concerts, some would be in charge of carrying around our food, and a few unlucky kids were chosen to be on luggage crew. Luggage crew, in a word, sucked. Our job was to take everyone's luggage and stow underneath the bus we would be riding in as the rest of the choir sat in the bus. Now, imagine how you would feel if you had to deal with 30 ungrateful kids’ luggage in the extreme heat. Now imagine it’s one in the morning and you’re unbelievably tired. Needless to say, I was not happy with anybody that night. Mind you, I did this at every hotel and airport we went to, and we went to A LOT of hotels and airports. Finally at about 2:30 am, I collapsed into my bed. It was an extremely busy day, but it had still been a little fun.
Shanghai > Suzhou
I woke up on Day 17 with my body aching from the night before. At breakfast, I found out the name of the hotel we were at because I was too tired the night before. We left the Vienna International Hotel and got onto a bus that took us to Suzhou. On the two hour ride over, we were given time to do some work. Once at the hotel, we ate lunch and had a rest period. After the rest period, I changed and then we arrived at the Suzhou Culture and Arts Center. A little side story: on the night of our concert in Shanghai about two weeks prior, our conductor was given a gift by the director of the children’s choir we sang with. It was a case with eight, extremely rare pins. Each one was created for one Olympics. There were pins from the past eight Olympics. Our conductor decided to use these as a motivation tool. He told us that the boy that fulfilled all his duties extremely well on tour would receive a pin. On the night of the first, this was the last thing on my mind. Little did I know that after our concert, my conductor would give me one of the eight pins. I asked him later why he chose me and he said that even though it was very late the night before, I performed the job that was given to me without complaining and throughout the tour, I had a shown a pattern of being expressive during concerts. It was a great night, and I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did. That night, I video called my parents and talked with them for twenty minutes. We were only able to speak to our parents twice on our tour because the restrictions China puts on calls to the US. Regardless, I had a great night, and I was asleep by 10:30.
We didn’t do much on Day 18. First, we went to the Suzhou Museum. Inside, there were many artifacts from separate time periods in China’s history. The gift shop is what I most vividly remember though. I remember my mom asking me to get her a souvenir from China before I left on my trip. In the gift shop of the museum, I saw many things, and then I noticed something. There was a whole wall of silk scarves being sold, and I thought my mom would like that. After taking the opinion of some of my friends, I decided on one scarf which I then bought. After that, we went to the “Humble Administrator’s Garden.” To me, it seemed like the not so humble administrator’s garden. It was huge and had a large variety of trees and other plants. After walking around it for about an hour and a half (it was huge!), we went back to our hotel. Once there, we had dinner. We also had the one and only night rehearsal of our tour that night. In two days, we would be flying to Hong Kong to perform with the official Chamber Orchestra there, and we had to be ready. I was asleep by 10:30.
Suzhou > Hangzhou
Day 19 was a pretty short, and cookie-cutter day. Days like the third of May had happened multiple times over the course of this tour. After breakfast in Suzhou, we boarded our bus and drove four hours to Hangzhou, our last stop in Mainland China. On the way over, I completed some of my work. Once at the hotel, we had lunch and a much-needed rest period. After I changed into my concert attire, we drove to the Hangzhou Grand Theater. After the rehearsal, we had dinner, and then our concert. Back at the hotel, we celebrated one of the chorister’s 13th birthday. After we ate the cake, we all went to our separate rooms, and I was asleep by 11:45.
Hangzhou > Hong Kong
In the afternoon of my 20th day in China, we flew from Hangzhou to Hong Kong. But first, breakfast. One of the most memorable parts of May 4th (at least for me) was the breakfast. There was a noodle bar at the hotel where I could select the noodles I wanted, the vegetables I wanted, and the types of seasoning I wanted. It was truly amazing, and my mouth is watering as I’m writing this. After reluctantly finishing my breakfast, and packing my bags, we drove to the airport. This time, we spent a little extra time at the airport because we had to get our visas sorted out because the ones issued to us for Mainland China did not apply to Hong Kong. Once on the plane, I had lunch and talked with friends. I just wanted the flight to be over because I was sick of planes at this point. But, this time was different. I thought our landing was going to be just like any other. When I looked out the window before landing, I saw the water approaching our plane at an alarming rate, and I thought we were going to drown. Turns out, the Hong Kong Airport runway is right on the water, and I had nothing to fear. It took an uncomfortably long time to get through customs and security at the airport, but finally, there was an end in sight. Once out of the airport, we got onto the bus (correction, I put the choir’s luggage under the bus after everybody sat down) and drove to where we would we eating dinner. I usually have a terrible memory but the name of the restaurant we ate at that night has always stuck with me. Beef and Liberty, if you couldn’t tell, was America themed. It was a funny joke, but the burger I had was actually pretty good. We then drove into downtown Hong Kong to our hotel. By about 11:15, I was in bed, thinking about the fact that I would be back home in four days.
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