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From Don’s Blackberry

I convinced myself that we would not open till the 28th but the party leader tonight again pledged “er hao!” Short for the fact that all will be ready from his team, a theater built by the 20th – monday!

Post script on the show – we started at 8:50pm waiting for the leaders and attendees – about 200 of them. The show was a dance after a song after a dance and of course the Teo character short play. With its special china character – local humor, tradition and insert message.

Lasting impression was the Chinese flag set piece – it was plastic! How can you do that?? The 3 strips of green grass carpet dance surface which became untaped during the male solo’s 8 forte’s! The rest of the show was like a glass half off the table …waiting for someone to trip and fall. And finally living in a bilingual culture where Mandarin and Mongolian are tossed back and forth and double every speech. How narrow-minded we were in San Fernando valley of our Latino neighbors…let alone our Apache Tribe.

China has 57 native languages – how many are left in North America?

After the show, I returned to hotel after skipping lunch and having 2 Baozi for supper, craving the Quaker oats cinnamon raison oatmeal that finally arrived from Beijing courtesy of my producer. My electric hot tea pot is missing. The maids do tend to arrange things as much as my polish maid in NYC so I look. No. I thought I could do without until midnight. The front desk gal is a gem, having made it through my internet connection issues a mere week ago but no language…other than 2 or 3 that I don’t know. Luckily 3 leaders walked in…baijou fumes on their breath and anxious to help.

First they get my ‘shui’ and order water. Then beer. Then cold water…cold since I could say cold, but not the r in hot! Finally we hit on the word for electric and the word for tea
. Then I say ‘wo zuotian you. Jintian meiyou.’ I had it yesterday, not today. Ohhhhhh says the hotel front desk and proceeded to explain that the teapot was taken by the show people for hot water somewhere. Oh…well they got no electricity in the yurts! So, maybe I have oatmeal at the rehearsal hall in the morning.

Ok, so I’m awake now and decide to go for a jog a few minutes before midnight. The knee still smarting from an unexpected and unwarranted choreography. A beat outside the hotel and all the street lights go dark. Only the moon. And it’s a chorus of stars with scenic by milky way. Brilliant.

Not so for the air…the trucks were rolling and it was a dilemma if it was bad exhaust efficiency or if there were nearby coal mines that they cook in the night. Nevertheless I jog in the dark with high beams in my eyes to the edge of town. Don’t worry..not that far.

Along the way one girl who was not looking up, finally saw my white skin, beyond the tank top and shorts and screamed shrieks thru the main street dust. Dui bu qi!

On the edge…wow! Trucks and working, loading, unloading, an exit to the freeway near by. A breath and then a jog back with taxis frequently brushing near to offer a ride. I passed a truck in the dark, noticed a group of 6 or 7 guys crouching by the back wheel and heard the girl in midst of pain or orgasm. Both can stop a jogger in his tracks, but, after convincing myself it was the latter, I thought better.

Ok…it was past midnight on the fringe of a small town on the fringe of china…and I had heard that the truck stops between on route 78 between in my home state between Bethlehem and the capital have some vestiges of the oldest tradition. And so it has been for 2000 years.

Last week, my drinking buddy and shared mutton char barbeque actually told me, ‘mongolian girls are better than Beijing girls. The Japanese taught them. But you have to pay more.’ I debate whether he was trying to boost the local economy, or just blame the curse on the arch rival.

The other story/myth/boast or exaggeration is that its Mongolian custom if you visit a friend or a new stranger fast to become friend and stay over night you may get a daughter or wife to make your rest more comfortable. Only heard it here! Didn’t check Wikipedia yet.

But let’s finish with reality…I jogged past midnight, in the dark, in the poorest section of a small town. The street was filled with people walking – some back from a late dinner, some with large sacks over their back. A majority I believe part of the migrant labor force that has come to the expanding area. Helping the city prepare for their 6th Hu Yuan Tree Festival – in fact building a theater in the woods in 9 days. They are undoubtedly the poor of the poor in this booming country, generally made great on the back of these people. One quai..14 cents, is a big deal. They are weathered faces, unflattering shapes, smoking, drinking muscle.

The recent news about China buying US goods to make nice in homage to the trade deficit I believe is a diversion around our suggestion that China adjust their currency. They will not, not to keep an edge on foreign trade, but to not have to pay more for the millions of these wandering souls. My theory alone.

So some have been drinking, some may be bedless, some may be lonely and frustrated (I know) and yet there is not a smidge of apprehension in my gate. None. Since 1990when I threw away my new Gillette electric razor container in a Beijing hotel, and 3 weeks later it was delivered to me in Nanjing (because I didn’t put it in the trashcan), I have kept the belief that as crazy as they are in business, the Chinese people are amazingly free of the lawlessness that ..well…that I experienced last month when I left $1000 in my carry on bag, that I quickly decided to check at the Istanbul airport. me naïve.