Last night after the performance our small group of Pop-upers had dinner together as a farewell to Hangzhou and to celebrate the great success of the 2 performances. It was great to see the Cleopatra pas de deux again.
This morning we set off at 9.15 for the relatively speedy journey to the airport and our flight to Beijing. The traffic was much lighter than we had experienced when we arrived. We were pleased that our flight was only about 20 minutes delayed so much better than we have been experiencing on our other internal flights.
It was alarming to see the gray/brown/yellowish smog hanging over the city as we came in to land in Beijing. Pollution levels are pretty high at the moment so it is not advisable to spend too much time outdoors and even if distances are relatively short walking is not advisable.
We were picked up at the airport and driven to the Qianmen Jianguo hotel which opened in 1956 and is one of the 8 most famous hotels in Beijing. It also houses the famous Liyuan Theatre where artists from Beijing Peking Opera perform. It is quite a traditional hotel and not quite as grand as we had experienced over the last few days in Hangzhou. The internet in the hotel is slow so may curtail my enthusiasm for adding too many photos to my Blog!
This is the view from the hotel window and shows the laden sky...
The journey took just over and hour and meant that our 4 dancers missed the coach to the theatre for class and rehearsals. Our promoter, Young, laid on a car for them so that they arrived in time for the end of class and rehearsals for tomorrow night's performance.
Beijing is one of the most populated cities in the world and the last estimate from 2012 stated the population at nearly 21 million. The city is vast and in total covers an area of nearly 17,000 square kms. There are lots of famous sites including Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven and not to mention the Great Wall.
The next three days are intense with performances every day but there may be a little time to explore.
The following are a few photos taken by dancer, Olivia Holland, from when the dancers went on a boat trip on the Pearl River in Guangzhou last week.
And now Raffles, Beijing calls for dinner with the Artistic Director.