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Back In The Fields N The Russian Orchestra

Pardon James? We have a dinner planned with the Education/Health Minister this evening! Oh yes, of course of course. I'm sorry James, I didn't quite catch that. It will be followed by a night with the Russian Orchestra that is in town. Oh how grand, how grand. Please make ready my best suit and shine my shoes. What a beautiful day indeed. I spent the day walking some of Shaowu's outer streets that took me through the vegetable fields where I found a most amazing cemetery located on a beautiful hill. Tombs of all shapes and sizes lined the hill side and two beautiful pagodas graced the hill top. Until I found the cemetery I actually could have believed I was back in Tianyang. I walked along dirt roads where families lived in little wooden shacks on the sides of their lands. The farmers were in the fields and the children were in the streets playing happily together along side chickens and rubbish pits. All were full of smiles as I walked on by greeting their smile with one of my own. I played a spot of basket ball with some middle school students and a round of badminton with some of the younger children. It was such a lovely day. In the late evening Daniel, Alexa and I were collected by one of the cities Big Guys. Yes, not only were we to have dinner with the Big Gal of the school who has just returned from America but we also clicked chopsticks with the Minister of Education and Health for Shaowu City. Both parties were very down to earth and we all happily toasted each other for a safe and happy new year. Half way through dinner The Big Guy surprised us with tickets to an event we all really wanted to attend but due to school and other dinners we had never actually got around to organising. The Russian Orchestra was in town for only one night, one of only seven in Fujian Province and we would now fill several of the seats. How lucky did we feel. Once we had all placed our chopsticks upon the table we made our way to the hall where the Shaowu Chinese Army was in full force checking tickets and making sure all would be well for their Russian Friends. Once we found our seats the night soon began. The first half was extremely graceful and moving. I loved every minute of it. I closed my eyes and allowed 'Tom and Jerry' and 'Tweety Bird and Sylvester' run riot in my mind! I'm sorry, but I really can't watch or listen to an orchestra without having all of the above mentioned do their best to totally destroy a house or each other. I guess it comes from belonging to my generation where orchestral music set the scene for most cartoons. It kind of spoils the feeling that I'm told most feel when they listen to this type of music. At half time I visited the W.C. (as the toilet is called here in China) and lined up with both the Chinese and members of the Orchestra. I couldn't believe that the building didn't house a W.C. for the performers. The funny thing was when I said 'hello' to the guys in black tie they hocked and harred back to me in Russian. So there I was surrounded by Russians and Chinese and I couldn't understand any of them. When the Russians spoke to me the Chinese obviously thought we understood each other and when the Chinese then talked to me to ask what the Russians said the Russians obviously thought we understood each other. It really was a strange several minutes spent in a cold damp Chinese toilet. The next strange thing that happened and one I felt bad about was when we were walking back into the main building there were several young students lined up at the door with note books and pens. Instead of running up to the guys in black tie they ran up to me. They wanted my 'Jee Dun' picture. You see, in each school I go to the children try to collect my little characters named Jee Dun. An easy explanation is that my Chinese name is 'Jee Dun' or simply Egg or Mr Egg. It comes from my children in Tianyang where I used to live at the school and come home at lunch time with eggs for the following mornings breakfast. The kids would run up and try to jump on me and I would say 'No No, Jee Duns'. After a month or two I just become known as Jee Dun. I found that it would make the kids laugh and happy so now each school I go to I introduce myself as this and the kids line up after each class and try to collect all the different ways I draw my character. So tonight I had some of my students waiting for me to add to their collection. The reason I felt bad was the guys in the black tie went to grab the note books and pens and the kids passed them to me jumping up and down shouting 'Jee Dun! Jee Dun!' Another strange moment at the Chinese/Russian orchestra! The second half of the night well, simply put, it was frustrating and I wanted to leave long before the end of the show. If anyone reading this has attended anything like this or even gone to the cinema in China they will understand how utterly disrespectful the Chinese can be to everyone around them. They talk very loudly to each other and talk on their mobile phone with not even a hint of consideration to those who actually want to listen or watch the show or what ever it is going on. I found out after the show that most of what people were talking about was the fact that they didn't even like the music. So why not simply get the fark up and leave! Quite a logical and simple thing to do really isn't it. Instead they yell, laugh, talk and make everyone else's night a misery and no one says a thing. Why? Face my friends. No one wants to lose face by confronting those being complete asses. You will have young teens or twenty something's making complete dicks of themselves and no adult will say anything. When I looked around I could see many tightly clenched jaws but everyone kept silent. I have been to several 'shin digs' and it happens at all of them. After tonight I really don't want to attend another one. I think I will accept the ticket so I don't offend the 'offerer' and maybe give it away or just not attend. Believe me, it really is a major test of ones patience and anger. Kind of like being a kindergarten teacher. Besides the behavior of the audience at the orchestra I actually had an amazing day today. I've finally made my way out of the city and into the fields. I'm picking up a pattern to my behavior when I move. You see, I 'say' I want to get on the bike or explore the fields but I won't actually do it until I have explored the city and its streets, only then will I finally make my way to the outer limits and enter the fields where I find I am most comfortable. A million beers and noodles to you all...Shane (or Jee Dun...or Mr Egg) PS: I find it strange that I have the Chinese name of 'Jee Dun' as from memory I wrote an entry inregards to a night on the rice wine and the following day I had to give my Grade 3's English names. I found it so strange that some of them wanted the name Chicken or Rain. Now I am a simple Egg! Secondly, how strange is it that the Big Guy of the city happily calls me Jee Dun along with the teachers and headmasters of this and my last school. I think they find it a little strange until they actually watch the students and how they react to it. Strangely they love it and jump up and down and shout 'Jee Dun Jee Dun' when I enter the classroom. Soon after the teachers include it in their 'Quiet Quiet, Jee Dun is about to start'. Oh how the strange can become totally normal!

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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