Shanghai musical scavenger hunt
This is a thing that happened while Sushu was in Africa and I was on my own in Shanghai.
I found this poster when walking in Lu Xun park:
Free music festival? Sounds good! Only problem: there's no time or place listed on the poster.
Thus began my scavenger hunt.
I started with the URL on the sign, faguowenhua.com/sh. That's Chinese for "French Culture". Mysterious.
Sushu's dad looked at that page and recognized an address: 多论路 (Duolun street), right nearby.
Stepping through the gate onto Duolun street was a shock. Everywhere else I've been in Shanghai is all grit and bustle and sidewalks crowded with cheap vendors. Duolun street in comparison is clean, peaceful, and classy.
Statues of famous cultural luminaries decorate the street. Here's Lu Xun and friends. (He was an influential local writer and revolutionary in the 1920s. The park is named after him.)
In front of this church I met some girls working a booth with flyers and schedules.
I started trying to ask one of them in Chinese about the time and place for the event. She was like "Oh good, you speak Chinese" and started speaking super-rapid-fire. I was quickly lost. "对不起，听不懂了" (sorry, I don't understand...) I said, and then she switched to English. "Ha ha, you're so cute" she said.
She took my name down and told me to return at 2pm. "Don't be late!" she warned.
Turns out the event was city-wide -- there were free concerts going on all weekend long at various times and locations all over the city. It really was a musical scavenger hunt!
I returned at 2pm to find a huge line outside the church. I started waiting, but the girl from before saw me, physically grabbed me and pulled me out of the line to give me a ticket she had reserved earlier.
Now it turns out the ticket she gave me was to get into the church for a performance by a French opera singer and a choir.
It wasn't the main thing I wanted to see -- there were some rock concerts going on elsewhere that seemed more exciting -- but after that girl went to all the trouble to get me that ticket I would feel very ungrateful not to use it.
Thus: French opera singer.
...and her Chinese protoges, singing in French.
Check out this guy's cute beard!
A choir singing hymns...
(this picture's mostly for Mom)
I snuck out of the church before they were done, and made my way by subway up to a shopping center in the Daning neighborhood to try to catch performances by "Fever Machine" and "Crystal Butterfly".
Achievement unlocked: First solo trip by Shanghai subway. At one point, because of a broken ticket machine, I had to ask a clerk for a ticket to a stop called 上海马戏城站. I didn't know the fourth character so I said "Shanghai ma shenmeshenme cheng?". He frowned for a second but then the lightbulb went on and he figured out which one I meant.
It was farther away than I thought, and by the time I got there, Crystal Butterfly was all done, but Fever Machine was just getting started.
They were pretty good! Lots of catchy power riffs and funky baselines. The kid on his dad's shoulders in front of me seemed to be enjoying it too. I had to leave before they were done in order to try to get back to uncle's place in time for dinner.
I was late anyway. I showed up at home sweating buckets from trying to run in the muggy summer heat, and apologizing profusely.
But man, that was a fun day. My first adventure without Sushu around to interpret for me!