Day By Day

Saturday, July 25, 2009

China Diary -- Part 44 A Night in Hangzhou

Then we were back on the road, heading for Hangzhou. There was no time to stop for lunch so we had take-out. A restaurant in Suzhou had prepared what they imagined Americans would want to eat. Here is their idea of a "hamburger".

That's right -- a sweet roll wrapped around a pork sausage. Not good! Once we got to Hangzhou we made up for it with an elaborate meal at our hotel, then it was off to West Lake to see a show.

And what a show it was!!! But first, a picture of the ceiling of the hotel lobby. Not that it's important, but I think it's a neat shot.

The show we saw was a modern rendition of the famous Chinese folk tale -- "The Legend of White Snake". Here's a synopsis of the plot as performed in Chinese Opera. "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I were already familiar with the story, having seen it performed by a traveling opera troupe, but many in the party must have been mightily confused. It didn't matter because the performance we saw was less a story than a visual spectacle titled "Impression West Lake", and rather than a straightforward storyline it assumed that the audience already knew the story and presented magnificent visual and dance representations of crucial points in the narrative. It was conceived and directed by Zhang Yimou, who also directed the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics, and it is much the same sort of spectacle as was broadcast worldwide then.

Here is a promotional video demonstrating some of the things we saw that evening. The music is performed by Zhang Liang-ying, who I was told was a winner of the Chinese version of "American Idol".

And here are some pictures I took of the performance. I was experimenting with various settings and didn't have a tripod, so the images are not as crisp as they might have been. Still, I like them.

Wow!!!! For many of us this was the highpoint of the entire tour. It certainly was memorable. All too soon the show was over and we trundled, tired but happy, back to the buses for a trip to our hotel.