Today is our last day in Beijing before we return to the UK. There have been one or two little challenges over the last two weeks which we have overcome and I am proud that the company has given some excellent performances and done a great job as cultural Ambassadors for our city and the UK in general.
Mark Skipper's blog
Last night the company were treated to a banquet in a restaurant near to our hotel hosted by Cui Yang (Young), our Promoter.
We presented Young with a framed photograph from A Midsummer Night's Dream as a memento of our 2014 tour.
The dinner at Raffles last night was excellent. This is the most original take on a Greek Salad I have ever come across.
The Qianmen Jianguo Hotel is quite traditional in its decor, including the Lan Fang Restaurant where we have breakfast.
Today we are giving 2 performances in support of Leeds and Partners' business development initiatives. Ballroom Number 3 in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, although 2 floors below ground, is a great looking venue.
We had sent detailed specifications of our needs for the performance space and despite everything Leeds and Partners had done to ensure they were adhered to, inevitably there were challenges.
Today was relatively relaxed with some time spent working on our budgets for 2015/18 in preparation for our Arts Council funding application and a long walk around the West Lake in Hangzhou (well most of it). The lake is said to be the most beautiful of 36 lakes in China of that name and I am sure that in summer it could well be true. Even on a grey winter's day with the sun shining it has a great deal of charm and it was a pleasant way to spend a few hours. The Lake has a circumference of about 15km and tracing our route on Google Maps it came to about 12.5km.
Today we split into two groups and I went with the small group of dancers to Hangzhou in advance of our pop-up performances on Tuesday.
7.30am was rather an early start after a late show the night before but the traffic to the airport was light as it was Sunday morning. Check in for the flight was relatively speedy and once we were through security we found a Starbucks.
Class was not until 2.30 today so time for a lie in, some shopping or a bit of sightseeing. It was a beautiful sunny day at 20 degrees C - the last warm day we will see on this tour as we move north to Hangzhou or Beijing tomorrow.
The two main attractions listed for Guangzhou are the Temple of Six Banyan Trees and the Pearl River (cruise at night.)
This old Buddhist Temple was originally built around 537AD. It has been rebuilt many times and the current Lotus Pagoda (at the centre of the Temple complex) dates from 1900.
Despite the delays in starting the fit up yesterday, the Technicians did an excellent job and finished work last night ahead of schedule.
The Guangzhou Opera House is rated as one of China’s top three theatres (The NCPA in Beijing is number one) and is regarded as the most high-tech and well facilitated performing arts centre in the South of China. The design by Architect, Zaha Hadid, is very modern and resembles a space ship or some such futuristic object.
A 9am departure for Xiamen Airport.
Check in was a little chaotic and the Chinese idea of queuing is a little different to ours.
Time for Coffee - Xiamen Airport's version of Starbucks maybe?