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Editors' Blogs

My Behringer-in-China Trip: Friday, 2/26/2010—Part Two

March 5, 2010

We had the afternoon off. Gunnar Ollson and I decided to brave the town. We wanted to go off the beaten track, to do some shopping in a less than obvious and maybe even non-touristy spot. Easier said than done, of course, especially without a city map, without any knowledge of Cantonese, and with English speakers a rarity.

One of our guides suggested the “walking street”, assuring us that there were plenty of shops and no cars. Too far to get there on foot, apparently, so a taxi would be called for us by the hotel. Fine, but what would we tell the driver? Not to worry. I produced my little notebook and had our guide write down the name of the “walking street”, in Cantonese and English, and also the name of the hotel.

Just to make sure, Gunnar produced his PDA and had the guide speak the names while he recorded her voice. As we were about to head on out, we were joined by a friendly chap by the name of Keith Pridgen, from Oregon, who works for Musician's Friend, a name well familiar to my readers of Recording Magazine.

Off we went, to find out that it was indeed a pedestrian street,

but the shops sold the kinds of cosmetics and clothing that young people with a bit of spending money go for. Nothing much indigenous.

Soon we found our old friend Dr. Sun Yat-sen:

 

Gunnar caught me in the act while shooting the above:

Little kiddies would wave and call out “Hello”—

well, the nearest thing to it—and the parents smiled when we greeted them back. That was the extent of our cultural exchange... Still, it was a good stroll. The three of us were by far the only non-Chinese on the block for the entire two hours we strolled around.

As we reached the end of that shopping street, we turned right and found ourselves in a “normal” street with “normal” shops, selling anything and everything humanity needs. I was tempted by the birdcage, in which a pretty little bird did backflips—I kid you not, it stood in front on the lower of two little perches, and backflipped onto the slighly higher perch behind, then stepped down onto the lower front perch and did it again, over and over. Or we could have bought the entire two-man outfit, head and body, for a dancing lion, like the one we were about to see on arrival at the awards show a couple of hours later.

There were some pretty trinkets and gifts small enough to fit into the luggage to take home, so we ended up spending a few yuan. Just when we began to wonder if there would ever come a taxi, one arrived, we hailed it, and my notebo0k did the trick.

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