Being a culture tourist

Inspired by approaching visit of Cindy’s parents and, in a couple of weeks time, Grandpa George, who has never been in China before, I went online to find out what is happening in Shanghai. Ooh next week is the Tennis Masters, and Andy Murray and all the others will be around somewhere. I am betting not here in Pubei Lu but in some 4/5 star hotel – our nearest non-residential place is a motel168 about 15 minutes walk away. Should I be going to report back to the family tennis star who has kindly read some of my posts? She knows who she is and will probably see more of it than I do on the TV if she is not off playing tennis in Turkey again. I have trouble finding the right channel on chinese TV and now Xin Xiu Wen (Cindy’s dad/boys’ other YeYe) is here, it is usually tuned in to china news or china opera singing. The first I can’t follow, the second leaves little choice except follow as it is hard to tune out.

And, even more ooh, I discover that the Shanghai International Arts Festival is on right now and all through October. It does not seem to be happening in Pubei Lu either. Now I am accustomed to the Edinburgh International Arts Festival and know the necessary ways to stay sane and still see/hear/talk about interesting events. First, find the venue map, locate way to go to clump of venues, then stick pins in or other random selection method, except remember to look at free and not too expensive, otherwise saving on shoes is offset. Ha Ha I have only now realised that when in Edinburgh I speak English and read English and all those international guests must have a different way of finding shows to go to. If you do not speak the language you cannot even find a venue map, let alone read the name of the venue, and the name of the required street, which I am quite sure is NOT Pubei Lu. Pubei Lu is a mile long, and full of interest, but not arts interest, more what is that man doing with that mending bicycle/cooking fire/sorting-trash? sort of interest. So, it took a whole morning and incipient backache because I forgot to change my computer and google map reading position often enough and eventually I found out that quite a lot happens around People’s Square, another series of lots happens in Pudong which is 2 hours away, and some more activity seems to be near the old French Concession district. I know the way to both French Concession and to People’s Square. Hurray, art and culture here I come.

I decided to try Art first because the music culture featured Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic etc – it is obviously a stunning international festival – and I felt if I did that (yes I know I would enjoy) I would think I might as well have stayed in Edinburgh or visited New York again or something. Also, as everywhere, I am trying to find morning activities, as if I go to concerts in the evening I just fall asleep, and am not available for baby-sitting while Cindy and her parents have time together. Also, the art will still be there when George comes and I can go look at it again.

People’s Square

there may be a ‘square’ somewhere, but to me this is the name of a metro station with at least 18 exits, and I already know exit 11 goes to the Art Museum, that there are several exits on a long avenue called People’s avenue, and other around a big park bordered/traversed by different streets. the internet has informed me that there is a People Theatre of Art on JiuJiang Lu near GuangxiBei Lu, so I was happy to discover JiuJiang Lu at Exit 6. And, on exiting, expecting to look for a building, a coloured horse alerted me to just look around. I found myself in the middle of an outdoor exhibition, only a bit on the photos below. I hunted and hunted for an information site, even in chinese, but could not find one, and having been asked for the umpteenth time if I would like “shopping” I was very rude and walked off down JiuJiang Lu to see what else I could find from my list.

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Wrong decision, as I discovered an hour later when I found myself a few yards from where I had started, outside the Shanghai Grand Theatre. Also there was the Berlin Philharmonic van and lots of TV people, though no music at lunch-time. And, surprise surprise, I recognised the building behind it, which is the Art Mueum I have been to before. So I went there again. I enjoyed that very much and it deserves a post to itself.

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