Up early with a pink drum on my back hailing a taxi
Heading under the cross harbour tunnel to Hong Hum
Commercial business people alongside me
Travel to the Canton Commercial Fair, a place of 10,000 exhibits
At the Conservatoire there are 90 students with laughing
I hope that their musicality develops as a result of our creativity
Nightime food of 3 fishes, noodles, dumplings, chrysanthemum
With philanthropic supporters and old old friend Hannah from Morecambe
My eyes are open, my ears are open, the food is good
The taxi ride is slow in traffic at 7.45am as I cross under the harbour to the big station that will take me to Gaungzhou - a new journey fro me. There seem to be loads of people heading to the city to an enormous trade show - someone tells me 10,000 stands so - that's a lot of trading! People try not to notice me with my pick drum on my back! And I try not to knock them over or turn too quickly. The journey is not too interesting - hills, industry, apartment blocks in a continuous stream for 2 hours - and then the arrival and customs and immigration is so easy.
Mandi is there and we head for lunch, with a teacher from the conservatory and our host Tina, in a big banqueting hall of the international hotel close to the station. Classic food with some great tastes including a lovely vegetable supposedly great for the digestion.
The conversation meanders this way and that as I try to understand what they really expect of me - so often in these situations it is really not clear and the details are muddy. Who are these 100 students at the prestigious Xinghai Conservatoire? What do they expect ? What do my partners want from it ? And then in comes Larrie - an extremely dapper man who will be my translator. He has spent his life promoting and selling hifi and PA kit (especially Tannoy) across HK and China. He is lovely and we slowly develop a relationship to take into the session. Finally we head of for an hour long car ride to the University Island where the Conservatoire is situated. Classic city of big river, skyscrapers, slums, industrial complexes.
Arriving in the hall for the session there is a good set up with data projectors, pianos, drum kit etc and half an hour late we start with about 90 students. It is a great session of playing. Laughing, creating, understanding community music and trying to make it relevant to their practice (which I think is composition, though this is never very clear!)
We end with the group photo and then head off for our evening meeting and meal with Mandi's supporters - the team (as she describes them) who will promote the work in China. Hannah and Dan (my UK friends) meet us at the Wu Yuan Seafood Restaurant on the 7th floor of a massive arcade and a meal of many types of fish. There is some business done as Mandi proposes the European tour of Music Appreciation and Participation for up to 30 Chinese enthusiasts which will end up at the Hothouse for a 4 day experience!
Finally we end up on floor 42 where Hannah and Dan live looking over this extraordinary view of downtown. Beer and sleep!