Tuesday, December 27, 2011

China Day Six - Chaoyang

Chaoyang was one of my favorite places on this tour.  It was farther inland - still in the Laioning Province, but in the northwest section, not too far from Inner Mongolia.  It had a completely different flavor from the other cities we had visited so far, more ethnic somehow.  It had a different vibe on a number of different levels.

All of the food we'd had so far was excellent.  They would serve us lavish meals with about 13 or 14 different plates of food on a huge lazy susan at a huge round table.  There were some different things at each meal, but a lot of it was the same.  In Chaoyang it seemed like all of the food was new things we hadn't had before and it was all amazingingly delicious and fresh.  We all declared the lunch to be the best meal ever.  I think they did dinner as a buffet for a change.  It was excellent too.

The people in Chaoyang were the warmest and friendliest people we had encountered in China so far, or at least it felt that way to me.  And that was in spite of the fact that there were tons of armed guards everywhere we went.  That was a little creepy and scary, but it was definitely offset by the friendliness of everyone else.  I think this area was more strictly governed.  It seemed more like a communist dictatorship, whatever that means.  It was definitely different. 

The city itself seemed a lot less polluted than the four cities we'd been in so far.  But it was extremely dusty.  It was covered in a layer of dust that the wind did not blow away.

The Chaoyang People's Hall was a smaller venue and it seemed like a very happy festive friendly place.  Apparently it wasn't up to par on a number of different fronts, but I had a blast playing there.

The trip from Jinzhou to Chaoyang was a relatively short bus ride through a more isolated, slightly mountainous region.

Our other bus broke down on the way so we spent some time at a truck stop waiting for them to get going again.  I don't remember the details but we weren't there for very long.

Our room was charming and clean, unlike some of the other places we'd been, and it had a warm and inviting color scheme.  Unfortunately we didn't get to actually spend the night there because we had to leave at 1:00 AM for our night on the bus.

Down in the lobby some of the hotel workers were practicing some kind of fan dance.  They looked like China's answer to pompom girls.

The area outside of the theater was festooned with all sorts of banners and bright lights.  It was really fun to get off the bus and be greeted by all of this.

Here's a stage shot of the Chaoyang People's Hall:

And here's the bass section of the "New York Symphony"

After the concert we went back to the hotel for another fabulous meal and about an hour of relaxation before we took off on our all night bus ride to Beijing.

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