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Wuyishan & Da Hong Pao Part 2 - Impressions

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

WUYISHAN & DA HONG PAO - Part II (Impressions)

As the term is nearing its end, new schools are looking at joining Buckland’s.

A month ago a Headmaster and several Chinese English Teachers came to my school to watch two of my classes and soon after contacted Owen and wanted me to join them the following week. Obviously I declined the offer as I would never dream of leaving my school or my students before the end the school year, but I did accept an offer to visit the school when I had time. As it was a new school and Owen (my boss) hadn’t seen it for himself we both decided to head there last Friday.

Owen and Travis (the new teacher) took a flight from Guilin to Wuyishan where the school collected them and put them up in the only Four Star hotel in Shangrao city. My story on the other hand went a little different.

Everyone here told me it was a two and a half to three hour journey so I boarded the only train to Shangrao city at ten in the evening expecting to arrive at around one but finally arrived at half past three Saturday morning. I then had to fight to cut the price from one hundred Yuan down to ten Yuan with the thrifty motorbike taxis at the train station and after a ten minute ride we then went about the Hotel Shuffle. After finally finding an extremely cheap hotel that would allow me to stay there without an expensive 'girl provided’ I then found that it was not only one of the dirtiest hotels but also one of the noisiest hotels in all of China.

What does one do in this situation at four in the morning? One goes across to the street side BBQ and sits for beer and meat sticks.

I finally got to sleep at around eight to then receive a call a few hours later telling me to hurry to the school as lunch was about to begin. What lunch, isn’t there only going to be the three of us and someone from the school showing us around? In the end the school had put on a HUGE performance complete with speeches, fanfare and bells and whistles to welcome Travis and Owen.

No one had told the school I was coming; So thankfully they didn’t wait for me to arrive before beginning.

Sadly though, if someone had told the school I was coming I not only would have got to stay in a four star hotel but I could have got a lift all the way from my city to the school in Shangrao in Jiangxi Province as after saying a huge G’Day to Owen and the school staff who did I find sitting with a big smile at the lunch table when I arrived?

My current schools Headmistress, Ms Zhaung.

She had been invited by the new schools Head Mistress and had been driven all the way in a private car. I on the other hand had only had three hours crappy sleep and stunk of shampoo as I expected to find a much better hotel at a much better time of the night. My crappy hotel didn’t offer free soap but what it did offer was two little satchels of shampoo that smelt of cheap bubblegum.

The first thing she said was; we could have gone together yesterday afternoon in the car and had dinner with the school….Anyhow, what was I to say to such rational thinking!

In the end I finally woke up after a few beers and the lunch was more than delicious, so much so that I was surprised when I was told that each lunch time all of the schools teachers sit together for the same type lunch. After several hours of Cheers and Toasts everyone headed back to their homes for several hours sleep. While they slept the afternoon away, Travis and I decided to crack open his bottle of Spicy Peppered Rum he had brought along with him from America. At around four Owen, Ms Zhaung and I were loaded into the schools car and after waving sleepy goodbyes we sped off in the direction of Wuyishan where we were met by several of Owens friends from Guilin who were in town to see the latest feature offered by the Impressions Team.

Happily for me they knew I was coming so there was an extra ticket for me. Unbelievably though, we had to sit through another huge dinner. The rest of the night is as below…..totally awesome!

Da Hong Pao is Zhang Yimou's fifth release in his Impression’ series; Each dedicated to a place of unique natural beauty and culture.

‘Impression Dahongpao's’ stage covers nearly one hectare and has a budget of two hundred million Yuan or more than twenty nine million US dollars. The seventy minute show boasts a 360-degree rotating auditorium and fifteen projection screens and seating capacity of two thousand. It uses the natural landscape as the background and incarnates local folk tales, tea culture and town life from both an upper and lower-class perspective.

It also involves two hundred and seventy local performers.

Supposedly being the largest movie theatre in the world, the stage broadens audiences' views as far as two kilometres which includes the two most famous peaks of Wuyi Mountain, Dawang (Great King Peak) and Yunu (Fair Lady Peak). ‘Impression Da Hong Pao’ is based on the ancient tale and love story between Dawang and Yunu. Elements of Xiamei traditional residential housing (architecture style of Wuyi Mountain) popular in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties using stone and woodcarvings have been combined in the stage design.

The show, set in a tea cultural park, projects the appearance of a giant teahouse, with waitresses dressed in traditional folk costumes serving Da Hong Pao or Red Robe tea which is a Wuyi Mountain specialty with the reputation as China's ‘King of Tea’s’

Impression, Da Hong Pao has five chapters: Feast in Tang Dynasty, Dancing in the Bamboo Forest, Legendary Love Story, Selling and Producing Tea and Cruising on a Bamboo Raft.

<u>Wuyishan Legend of Dawang and Yunu</u>

Yunu, a fairy maiden, fell in love with Dawang who was an earthly king. She came to Wuyi Mountain to enjoy its fantastic natural beauty together with the king. She loved it so much she decided to stay there. However, a demon named Tieban (Iron Plate) informed the Jade Emperor of her decision and the Jade Emperor flew into a rage and turned the demon into a peak, known as Tieban Peak, to separate Dawang Peak from Yun&uuml; Peak.

The two lovers can’t see each other though they are only a short distance away.

The name Wuyishan comes from a story about a legendary person called Qian Keng who lived during the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century B.C.), believed to be the eighth generation descendant of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor. Because of Qian Keng's outstanding achievements, King Yao gave him the title of lord of Pengcheng and thus he became known by the surname Peng. His descendants referred to him as Peng Zu (Ancestor Peng). To escape from wars occurring at that time, Peng Zu took his two sons, Peng Wu and Peng Yi, to a scenic mountain area in northern Fujian where they settled down, worked the land and lived as farmers.

Later, in memory of these first settlers to the region, people name the mountain range after the two sons, Wu and Yi, and thereafter also used the name Wuyi to refer to Peng Zu.

<u>Who is Zhang Yimou (the main creator of all five Impressions)?</u>

Zhang Yimou was born in Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi province, China. Zhang's father, a dermatologist, had been an officer in the Nationalist Kuomintang army during the Chinese Civil War, and an uncle and an elder brother had followed the Nationalist forces to Taiwan after their 1949 defeat. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Zhang left his school studies and went to work, first as a farm laborer and later at a cotton textile mill in the city of Xianyang and during this time he took up painting and amateur still photography.

Several decades pass by…. now he is China’s most commercially successful film-maker after proving himself worthy of being able to translate traditional Chinese themes into international box office gold with the martial arts epics such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

Several more years pass by…..when it came to compressing hundreds of years of Chinese history into a single dazzling display, Zhang Yimou was the obvious choice for the Opening and Closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Zhang launched his Impression series with Impression: Liu Sanjie in August 2003, which is still running in Yangshuo, Guangxi Province. He continued the series with Impression: Lijiang in June 2006, Impression: West Lake in late 2007, Impression Hainan Island in 2008, Impression: Zhangjiajie in 2009 and Impression: Wuyishan in 2010 with Impression: Taiwan soon to follow.

Impression: Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Part 1 &#8211; 10 minutes Impression: Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Part 2 &#8211; 10 minutes Wuyi Mountain in black & white ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Machine Head The album was &#8216;Hell Alive’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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