CHINA DAY 5
March 15th - Arrive around 1pm - 2 hour train to Nanjing
Nanjing - Castle Bar - 6pm sound check / 9pm show
March 16th - Morning do a little sightseeing
Evening take the overnight train to Beijing
March 17th - Morning sightseeing - Forbidden City, Tiananmen
Beijing - Yugong Yishan - 6pm sound check / 9pm show
March 18th - Afternoon leave for an overnight train to Wuhan March 19th - Morning - Wuhan sightseeing, etc... Wuhan - Vox Bar - 6pm soundcheck / 9pm show
March 20th - Morning - train to Changsha (Chairman Mao's hometown)
Changsha - 4698 Bar - 6pm soundcheck / 9pm show
March 21st - Morning - flight to Shanghai
Afternoon - sighseeing
Shanghai - Logo - 8pm soundcheck / 12am show
DAY FIVE WUHAN
Wow it's been more than two months since we were in China, and we're still talking about it - can you believe that? Anyhow, the first thing you probably think of when you hear about Wuhan, is that you've never heard of it. Neither had we until we saw it on the itin. It was described to us as "a small city" in China all tour, which means that only 9 million people live there, which means it's bigger than any city in the country we live in (Canada). We did a lot of typically Chinese tourist shit in this town, so stay tuned.
The day started off really early again, since we were woken up by the rousing notes of communist pop music blaring from the small sharp speakers on our train. The station was had a more pronounced gritty feel...it was dark and subeterranean and seemed to be dripping gunk and asbestos everywhere. As soon as we passed under the tracks and left the station Abe immediatly got into an argument with like every taxi driver in the city simultaneously. We just watched as he delt with a barrage of bodies and prices at 6am. The city was an hour cab drive away so it was todays' first big fare. The ride took us through a long land bridge that brings you from the outskirts to the metropolis. We saw the mist rising from the lake and the herons and swans frolicking in the dew.
We get dropped off infront of our hotel, which will turn out to be the only real sketchy dump of the tour, which is honestly what we'd been preparing to endure every night. But we had swell places every night except for tonight. We'd booked this place because it was in the same complex as the club so it gave us a lot more freedom to muck about in the town. It was on the 17th or 18th floor of this big dilapidated office tower. There was a bright alley way directly below the first balcony of the building where all morning vendors were preparing for the night - Wuhan is also known as the capital of street food in the country. Ben and Jonah went to get some kind of soup and I hightailed it upstairs to get changed. Even though the entire bathroom was covered in black mold and the carpets were wearing holes through the layers like old billboard adverts falling away from their signs to reveal ads from 10 years ago, and the matress was filty and as thick as a paperback novel, the tv cable had like 20 english channels as well as a next-day repeat of a Liverpool game so I watched that on my tiptoes trying not to touch anything in this obviously condemned abode.
We split off into groups again to go sightseeing. Abe had a real suprise for us this time - we were off to see another temple. After walking through Wuhans soot atmosphere for a few seconds we jumped on a bus and took it for about 45 minutes along one major road to get to Yellow Crane Tower, which was actually pretty sick. Like most ancient things in China, the Tower has been rebuilt several times over the years so it gives off the old-new vibe, and also has an elevator inside it. It's supposed to give a great view of the city and the Yangtze River, but you can't see 10 feet into the view because of the smog. We were about a quarter of a mile from the river at this point and still couldn't see it even though it felt like we were as high as an ancient Chinese cloud. Anyhow the tower was great and is a dead ringer for the last level of that Zelda for super nintendo. We paid our respects and hung a pair of trainers from the top of this thing and then took off to the river.
Since we weren't physically inside the river, we never actually saw the thing because of the smog. We crossed the bridge for a bit and got tired of walking and turned around to go watch Chinese Opera underneath the bridge. In China, when you are old you go hang out under the bridge with like 500 of your facebook friends and watch these serene opera productions while woman hand out cigarettes and weird snack foods that look like folded pancakes and get your haircut for free by haircutting students. Josh and Ben managed to do all of this stuff I think, plus shoot bbguns at balooons on the staircase back up to the main street. It was a weird day. On the bus ride back, we saw a dude point his kid at a wastebasket on the bus and the kid did a number 2. On the bus. Into a garbage can.
We had lunch at a Muslim eatery, which is quiet common in China for cuisine. It's small shops that sit only a few people and you get noodles custom made - you choose the size and shape you want and then watch as the cook turns a blob of dough into all these crazy noodles with his hands. They toss it into broth for a few minutes and then add cilantro and hot pepper sauce and it's really elegant cooking and looks easy enough to trick you into wanting to try and open your own hand made noodle store in north america until you realize these kids starting slinging noodles before they could talk in the high plains of Russo-Mongolian China and bring themselves to a state where the noodles are just an extension of their already noodle-like fingers and arms and you could never make a profit charging 75 cents for a bowl of noodles anyway. But it was good and cool. I tried to replicate the experience in Shanghia a few days later and asked for the soup to go but wasn't paying attention and when I got back to the soup I found a bunch of broth and and egg and noodles stuck together inside a plastic bag and really felt like I'd wasted 50 cents that afternoon. But I digress.
We went back to the hotel to relax before soundcheck and listened to an animal that sounded like it was the size of a water bison make it's way Alien-style through the heating vents in our safari hotel. Incensed, we made our way through the labarynthine hotel to the club on the bottom floor. I was tired of waiting for the elevator because it only came up to our floor every 10 minutes and was right next to a service desk manned by a crazy woman who kept yelling at us in Chinese every time we walked past, and it's real hard to get into crowded stuff in China anyway, because it's shank-or-be-shanked over there as you know, so I decided to brave the stairs. As I made my descent and the lights got dimmer every storey down I felt like I was becoming a character in a bootleg copy of that movie Silent Hill and when I got to about the 10th floor the lights were almost completely gone, as were the numbers so I had no idea where I was or if I had indeed descended as far down as actual hell, which is where it felt like I was...I opened a door on what felt like floor negative 164 after walking down stairs for what felt like 6 hours and found myself in a surprisingly serene internet cafe, except no one looked at me and there was also no other door in the room so I had to keep going...I quickly doubled back up the stairs and got back on the elevator at like floor 12 and waited another 10 minutes for an elevator.
The show was at a place called Vox and was cool. Like in Tokyo, all our gear was neatly set up before we got there and already turned on for us and everything. I can't remember anything else about the set.
The next day we visited a huge outdoor spiralled mall that apparently had the longest pedestrian walk way on earth, which we were all incredulous about. What we did find were a lot of stores that sold duck-neck which is a delicacy but at a store just looks like piles of brown carnage piled high like in that movie Aliens. It was gross.