The Vocal Acrobatics Day

May 15

Today was the first time we were able to see where our hotel was. It is an entirely different world from downtown Shanghai. The hotel is in the French concession of Shanghai. The area is covered with trees (allergies were a bit of an issue) and the buildings are mostly residential, and the majority are no more than a few stories. I guess it makes sense because the hotel is in the old city, which is not as tall. Even if there were tall buildings, you wouldn’t be able to see them because of the trees (if you can’t tell, I was surprised by the number of trees planted in the sidewalks.

I noticed a lot of this on our drive to ECUST (East China University of Science and Technology, that’s a mouthful), and the rest of it I noticed later walking home. The campus was more urban than CUFE but still nice, although I personally liked CUFE better. Thankfully the classroom we were in was air conditioned because the rest of the building was not, and it was really hot and humid today. The lecture today was supposed to be about Chinese business, but it ended up being more of a history lesson on China. After the lecture, we were partnered up with some local students who gave us a brief tour of the campus and took us to lunch. I was impressed with myself that I was able to clear my plate of fried rice while using chopsticks. After lunch, the group reconvened for “joint activities” with the local students. We played a game where an item (Chinese hacky sack?) was passed around the room until the music stopped and whoever held it when the music stopped had to go to the front of the room and perform something. There were jokes, singing, and poems performed.

After ECUST the group kind of split into people going to the acrobatics show and those who weren’t. I was going, and we went to a local restaurant to get dumplings, but there was no English and very few pictures of the food, so we were not a hundred percent sure what we were ordering. Thankfully, we got what we wanted.

On the bus ride to the show, we decided that the bus was now a karaoke bus and we sang the whole way there (it was about a forty-five-minute ride). Once we got there, we sat down seconds before the curtain opened. Then we were in awe for the rest of the show. My favorite act was the recurring duo of a chef and another guy. They did some small bits between other larger acts for some time and had two longer acts towards the end of the show. The first was the chef spinning plates with chopsticks for five minutes (it was more impressive than it sounds) and the other was knife throwing. Ah, the knife throwing. They started out just throwing the knives at a board then got a volunteer from the crowd. That turned out to be one of the guys from our group, Jared. They held him up against the board and blindfolded him. Then they counted down from three, the same way they had when they threw the knives, before stabbing the knife into the board. They did this multiple times and Jared had no clue that they never threw a knife.

We also walked home and again sang the whole way (this time it was around two hours). Oh, Chris and I split a burger from burger king and it was good.

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