There are so many places in the world that I need to know more about, need to travel to and experience firsthand, need to at least see once before I die. China, surely, has to be one of them. Things happen in our lives that make us realise how ignorant we are from time to time, and this weekend has been just such a time. I know next to nothing about China, its past or its present.
A quick list, of countries that I must see in the next few years, otherwise I'll be very annoyed!:
CHINA, JAPAN, RUSSIA, AUSTRIA, GERMANY, USA, AUSTRALIA, SWEDEN, ICELAND, BRAZIL!
(off the top of my head!)
And, you know, I haven't the foggiest idea how we'll pay for trips to these places - with three kids in tow as well - but what's the point in existing on this wonderful planet if we don't explore it as much as we're able? That's just me anyway. Lots of people don't want to explore it, and that's fine too :)
So, anyway, it was China this weekend. As I mentioned yesterday, we were off to the Chinese State Circus in the evening, and I was very excited.
Oooooooh, it was very good!
Mm-hmm. Yes it was. As soon as the first performers came on I was fighting back tears, because I am a right big softie :) I felt a bit sad for them, because the auditorium wasn't even half full, and the audience took quite a while to warm up. I did a couple of whoops on my own and clapped as hard and loud as I could, lol. What the hell, I enjoyed it immensely. Wish Lancaster could have received them a bit more enthusiastically, as they deserved to be packed out for every performance. And I hated that the audience started to leave before the performers had finished their final bows - it was rude, and I was embarrassed by it. I clapped and cheered as loud as I could to compensate for the missing audience members, who should have shown more respect by staying in their seats until the curtain closed. The performers gave everything they had to us, never wavered in their professionalism, never let their smiles falter for a moment, despite ours being their third performance of the day - and the least they should have been able to expect in return was our attention right until the end.
Anyway, I watched the boys as much as I could, and they were just rapt the whole time. Thomas's mouth was a perfect 'O' every time I looked at him. And no wonder. I mean, is there a better time to spend a Saturday evening, than watching death-defying feats of tremendous bravery and dexterity? I don't think so. I don't know about you, but I could quite happily watch contortionists bending themselves completely in half and putting their own feet on their ears from around the back of their heads every day of my life. I wouldn't mind having some of those shaolin warriors in my back garden, so that whenever I paused for a restful cup of tea, I could broaden my mind by learning how to centre my energy and impale myself on spears and such without feeling any pain. Or I could just wonder at the beauty of the human form as I watched the warriors doing their thing, if I was feeling a bit lazy. And I don't think a person could ever tire of watching two people suspended by their ankles or wrists or waists from lengths of silk, spinning and twirling through the air in a dance that they make look as effortless as breathing. (That one did make me cry, it was just stunning.)
Here are some photos of the Chinese State Circus that I pinched from Google Images (don't know if that's allowed, but I am acknowledging now that the photos are not mine, and that I cannot take credit for their beautifulness!).
Of course, as predicted, Thomas went completelycrazy when we left the circus. Actually, it started before we'd even got out of the tent, as he leapt, with astounding grace for a six-year-old, from his seat and landed beautifully on the grass, arms outstretched for the perfect finish. He then proceeded to show us exactly how he'd been paying attention to every act, and he sprang, dived, rolled and pirouetted across the park without stopping for even the tiniest second. He found a stick, and a pine cone, and practised his balancing whilst trying to do the splits. We called in at my grandparents' before we went home, as they live next to the park, and Thomas seemed to be in his own little world as he carried on with his acrobatics for half an hour in the middle of the room as if no-one else was there. I don't think he was actually aware that he was being watched, and it was quite an amazing thing to see. Absolutely hilarious, but amazing too.
So I went to bed thinking beautiful thoughts.
Part II to follow tomorrow.