Tuesday, April 11, 2006

culture cat and Peking duck

Beijing goes modernAlice showed me on my deteriorating map, where the Oriental Plaza is located. Passing off the usual array of cap selling, map toting, art dealing and tea stealing touts across Tiananmen Square, I found the western monstrosity. Inside the materialism is oozing from brand market goods shops that are... largely empty of customers...

big carFearless movieMy mission was to try the local cinemas on tight-arse-Tuesday in hope of catching Jet Li's final kung fu movie, but much to my disappointment it wasn't showing! Harrison Ford doesn't really cut it as Chinese cultural enlightenment, but Firewall was a good movie (and available in English).

At 5pm a friend from the dorm, Dan, and I dined at a 2-star restaurant after walking out of a 5-star. For some reason Dan thought we could afford a luxury dinner - Ha! Instead we each invested Y50 in shear gluttony, including some delicious Peking duck.

finishing touchesmake-up timeWe waddled to the nearby Qianmen Hotel and bought the cheapest tickets to Beijing opera at the Liyuan Theatre. It was something very unique to say the least. The melodic English speech introduced the show, then the first act launched with a singing story about an empress and her emporer. Playing the empress was an actress with a rather intriguing vocal ability. She sang with 2 distinct voices: one sounded like a Chinese version of Mickey Mouse; the other like a cat.

Finally some more martial arts, the second act was about a cheeky monkey king that gets away from the authorities, performed entirely through gesture and acrobatic action. A great night of entertainment. There'll be no need for the Adult Toys from the Fear East International hotel's coffee bar tonight!