Thursday, June 4, 2009

Penises and breasts

Yesterday was a day of Chinese studies at Chinese Corner, art class at QSI finishing up the mosaic project we've been working on with the 11-12-13 year olds and also...penises and breasts. I'm not trying to capture your attention in the most spectacular way because I can't post any pictures for the moment - believe me when it's possible again I'll post the evidence to prove to you that yesterday was just another typical day in China, i.e. a series of both mundane and bizarre experiences.

I had to go up to Jinli Street yesterday to buy a birthday present and was wandering around the back alleys when I heard the magnetic pulse of salsa music. I could hardly contain myself and had to immediately figure out where this music was coming from. Salsa is not the usual Jinli fare which usually specializes in classical and vernacular Chinese culture and rarely anything Western. But lo and behold salsa it was and I finally found where: The back of Jinli is now connected with the Wuhou Gongyuan and they were participating in the ongoing "Intangible Culture Festival". A group of scantily clad Australian dancers were doing a ripping salsa with all body parts jiggling and wiggling to the beat. How certain parts of the ladies anatomies stayed inside their dresses I think it was not only me wondering but all the mesmerized old Chinese men and women who made up the greater part of the audience at this time of day. The rhythm and enthusiasm of the dance troup was great though and I couldn't help jiggling along with them.

After the Australians bounced off the stage there followed a group of Chinese men balancing a large bamboo pole on their foreheads, juggling with it etc. On the sidelines I noticed other Chinese acts, most unusual being a group of very serious looking men dressed entirely in straw: straw hats, straw skirts, straw leggings and strangely each one had a substantial-looking straw "attachment" dangling between their legs. I didn't pay it much notice until they started dancing. Whoops! That dangling straw thing sure caught the audience's attention now as it turned out to be the focal point of the dance, help up high in the sky with a eye-riveting red-painted tip, jerked about and held with firm determination by the wildly dancing men.

The old ladies in the audience were giggling now and I asked the young man beside me where these dancers came from: "Hunan" he answered, as he distanced himself from me and my questions. When I later showed Burton the pictures he said "Must of been some kind of fertility dance". What a way to be distracted on this certain day.

Kinafestival Sigtunahöjden

Forgot to say...I have been invited to be a guest author at the China Festival (Kinafestivalen) at Sigtunahöjden north of Stockholm this summer so I will be back in Sweden for a few weeks, yippee! I will be holding a presentation centered around one of my two books that came out in 2008: Kinesiska symboler. Do please visit anyone that happens to be in the area at the end of July or beginning of August (July 29 - Aug 2), 2009.

Look here for more event info:



I will also be working with Lotus Travel at the festival. Other authors, photographers, instructors, lecturers will be there as well to make it an exciting event: Marcus Haraldson (En linje över Kina), photographer Li Yanan, Cecilia Lindqvist, Champagne expert Richard Juhlin (Paddy and I happen to have translated a few of his books into English) etc.

Taijiquan instructor Marianne Telford - who just led the taijiquan lessons on the "Hälsoresa" I led - will be giving lessons as well. A good opportunity to come and see what a fantastic instructor she is and think about signing up for next year's 2010 taijiquan tour that we are already planning now!

There will also be numerous shopping opportunities, tea and food presentations, music events, exhibitions etc etc.

And by the way....Sigtunahöjden is a lovely hotel and conference centre situated in beautiful surroundings and now completely remodeled with a uniquely Chinese flavor so pay a visit and come away inspired!

Update about Blogspot

Hello again and thanks for support about Blogspot being blocked. I still can't post pictures (so you can't see the great image of me flying across a reservoir by the Simatai Great Wall attached only by a hook on a cable) but I'll try and start posting text and later when Blogspot hopefully surfaces again I will be able to post pictures to the postings. It will be a new challenge to hold your interest in this blog without any images! See you soon...

Blogspot blocked in China

Hello Everyone!

I'm back from my trip and am dying to post pictures and text but Blogspot has been blocked in China for a couple of weeks now so it is going to be hit and miss to get anything out to all of you around the world. Followers in China: don't give up hope! You can still read this blog through a proxy server but hopefully things will get back to normal shortly (a country this size should be mature enough to take criticism and negative commments, COME ON!). I am posting this through a backdoor and hope that I will be able to continue posting text, although pictures seem to be another matter all together.

Please be patient and thanks again all you faithful followers...I miss you!