Monday, June 9, 2008

China Day 10: Onboard Entertainment

Tomorrow we begin cruising up the river, so this afternoon the other passengers began to arrive. We had a good point of view to observe the luggage handlers:
Based on what my suitcase weighed, they seem to be carrying over 120 pounds each, balanced on those shoulder poles.

After dinner, we attended the Welcome Show put on by the crew. There are a huge number of crew members working on this boat. Some of them pull double duty - for example, our favorite waitress at meals also plays saxophone in the brass band (she's the one playing the biggest - baritone? sax in the picture from yesterday) but I think I remember them saying there are 150 staff members in the Entertainment division alone. It's a very talented crew!

The show took place in the ballroom. Most of the acts were based on folk dances from different regions of China: First the crew performed a Wedding Dance from northeastern China:
The couple in the center are the "bride and groom".

Next, a young man sang two songs. His delivery was extremely dramatic.
Neither song was Red River Valley, oddly enough.

Next was my favorite, the "Happy Chef Dance". This one was played for laughs, and it was extremely funny.
One of the "chefs" is actually authentic. The third guy from the left (IIRC) moonlights in the Food Service department. This was followed by a Mongolian women's dance,
which involved lots of sleeve waving in graceful patterns. The graceful waving of floor-length (or beyond!) sleeves is a main staple of Chinese dance. One of the dancers then played on the "Chinese zither"; the Guzheng.
She was amazing! This instrument is very dramatic; the piece she played was an evocation of a storm at sea and you could really "hear" the waves and the thunder.

The last dance was a big production number based on dances of the Uigur Turks, a minority in far northwestern China:
I'm tired just watching them! Nighty night!

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