As many of our readers will already know we are big fans of the performing arts.. as well as, would like to broaden our horizons ever increasingly. There comes a time when we put down our pens and go to venture out into the unknown. But we are humans too and we have pre-asumptions about stuff, like what sucks and what not. But China is full of surprices, and sometimes we cannot stop laughing, yet other times we cannot close our mouths because of pure amazement. This is pretty ordinary stuff in China for us, although the experience is always new and fresh. It’s because the competition is tremendous in this country, which everyone wanting to make it. Of course in other countries too, there are a lot of career driven people.. but for the Chinese it’s a lot more than money, while they usually need the money most. There is a lot of pride involved, and failure is not an option. Sometimes the capacity is not enough because the country is behind in development. At other times, the innovation that arises from undevelopment is just something we think could not be described other than, “brilliant”!
So what is it that we have been laughing at.. is without a doubt, Peking Opera. The art that looks rediculous from the outside and is laughable from the inside. It really has made us curious and up to the point that we actually had to go and see if for our selves. Thus, we headed on to the Liyuan Theatre Opera venue which was suppose to be suitable for novice people like us. We found it extremely cultura and thought provoking, while getting the laughs at the same time. This is really an experience we had never had before.. because culture, was not to be fun right?! Well, Beijing finally proved us wrong. The opera here is something that makes you think, because it’s outrageous and extremely skillful. Everything has purpose, including all the funny faces and make up. Music is intense, and the stories are enchanting. What more could you want.
Our favorite story was the “DRUNKEN BEAUTY” which is a story of how being an idiot, can pay off. The teachings are simply incredible in these magical stories, and you can see that they were invented way before the times of Mao. Thank god.
So, Liyuan Theatre did give us hope, that there is hope in Opera. Especially in Beijing, China. Our HQ and favorite places to play of all time. But now again, it’s time to take the pen into our hands and get back to work as always. Forward we go!
The China Mogul Staff
As you might have already noticed.. We at China Mogul are always interested in modern trends, as well as local activities. The combination of the two, blended into a setting of a Chinese city makes it all very exiting. There is a lot to experience, as well as to cheer in many of the big and proud cities scattered all around China.
Shanghai is not one of the most well known without a reason. Recently we’ve been looking at buildings and Shanghai tops as one of the most interesting of examples. With structures of all shapes, sizes and most importantly heights popping up everywhere. Indeed the modern achievement in this city is more than overwhelming. The citizens should be proud however, the division of wealth has remained a touchy issue.
For those interested in architecture we rise one example above the rest. It is a world of circus as well as striking architecture, which awaits Shanghai visitors at the brilliant Shanghai Circus World building. This structure was erected a long time ago, when it was natural that the local acrobatic entertainment industry would need a new home along with the economic development.
Not with overseas economies struggling, the amount of tourists have become less. Some other less famous acrobatic venues, have had to shut down because of the lack of foreign customers. But Chinese are still spending, and thanks to them the Circus World remains strong in the mids of the Shanghai buzz.
As ancient as acrobatics is in China, it is for sure.. that for as long as the performances keep on going through the night of these cities.. we can say that the night life is going strong and China is well. When no more theatres are left, we can be confident that the state of the country is no good.
In fact we recommend visitors to join the circus and support the Shanghai economy!
No, seriously I still haven’t found out how to translate that word to the Chinese people. On the surfance, the mogul seems more occupied with income than vibrating to their new awareness.. but it’s there, the extravagance.
I mostly feel it in Shanghai.. I see people on the metro, they must have build very intertwined communities amongst each other. This “modern breed” of Chinese has a totally different feel to it. They are much cooler, no longer dress funnily.. they are not loud. They have funky hair styles and even seem polite.. and most importantly know how to party.
A lot of them.. speak English. And that’s the barrier I think. When more of this breed, is the type that only speaks Chinese.. then we start to see the effect on society in larger scales.. we start to see opinion flow in the country.
I mean, it’s already happening.. and a lot. Just inside such a massive country, it’s not enough. There should be more of it without a doubt. Extravagance that is!
Another brilliant star in the Beijing sky of acrobatics is Chaoyang Theatre that has been largely popular with both the Chinese and foreign crowds. With two shows on a daily basis, it’s not hard to catch a show to the time of your liking. The hassle is so big that they don’t even stop for the Chinese new year. The vibe is just fantastic!
As far as the stunts go, they would be better explained as “extremely daring” which is why the theater gathers some of the wildest show crowds in Beijing. Our favorite act was the lion dance where you get to see Chinese tradition all mingled with the stunning brilliance of a Chinese show spectacle. Kids can tag along too, but everyone has to pay for the treat. If you came from far, don’t miss it because of your wallet. We’re telling you, it’s really worth it.
The theatre is very impressive as well. Built back in ’84, it retains it’s historical and spacey feel. But despite the old age the facilities are top-notch and can host more than a thousand people at any given time. Despite the big size, it’s often packed so be prepared with an advanced booking.
Bookings are made without any advanced payment through these companies so do use them but please do respect them as well. A guide will come to bring you the tickets in front of the theater building. Great service and if you cant come, let these poor guys know or they’ll be standing there for nothing!
After the show you can eat Beijing duck at a popular restaurant known as “Beijing Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant”. Yes, we know the name is long but it’s a popular and a bit of a famous place because it’s just so delicious over there. Check it out or even go and see the CCTV headquarters which happens to be one of the most impressive buildings in the proud city. The Chaoyang Park is also not far away at all, with plenty of hectares to walk around and play.
Performances at the Chaoyang Theatre are held at 5:15PM & 7:15PM. See you there!
There is a lot of life that surrounds the Chinese Kung Fu scene. Films, TV shows, comic books, pop-art, weapons, theatre etc. In fact Kung Fu is the general word for pretty much any type of martial art originating from China. With all the buzz it’s difficult to tell the face from the real.. or even understand, what is Kung Fu?!
It is evident that in modern days the majority of martial arts practitioners are motivated by money. Especially in China, people yet cannot afford to have such time consuming hobbies so even being able to combine your work with your hobby is quite an achievement.
But unfortunately these kinds of money orientated motivations are far from the origins of Kung Fu. Modern styles that at best make it until the movie theater screen of course look spectacular. However it’s because they are made to look so on purpose.
Kung Fu in it’s ancient form is filled with purpose that is purposeful. Meaning that every move has a meaning, a function and it’s the most direct route to mastering an art of combat. When one starts adding non purposeful movements the original purpose is lost.
There is one theater however where the traditions have retained as much as possible while bringing a real Kung Fu spectacle that’s both purposeful and entertaining. The show at the Red Theatre in Beijing is a prime example of a classic Kung Fu story. It covers real issues about growing up and mastering ones mind and body through the art of Kung Fu. Of course some glamour has been added to bring the show into spectacle form, such as smashing of bricks and lying on top of nail mattresses. Yet the show has kept a strong traditional flavor that is respected by real Kung Fu lowers around the world.
It’s good to remember that the performers are not real Shaolin Monks, but they are highly skillful martial artists that are trained for the performance. Having shaved their heads as monks, the respect for historical facts is deep and is well reflected in the show.
China has a lot of cities.. with huge populations. But with so many cities not everyone has even heard of them despite their huge population. To teach or refresh everyones memories, here is a list of the biggest cities in China. Ordered by population.
Nr. 1: Beijing
Nr. 2: Shanghai
Nr. 3: Chongqing
Nr. 4: Tianjin City
How many did you get right?
We thought we should lighten up a little bit and do something fun. So the team at China Mogul headed down to the famous Legend of Jinsha acrobatic show. According to the show webpage it has been running for already 10 years straight!
What we discovered, was that the acrobatic scene had dramatically changed since any of us had been to one. While there were some negative changes mostly the impression was positive.
It’s obvious that westernization has entered the stage and this brought a totally new vibe to the performance. This brings some of that “spectacle essence” that traditional chinese performance has been lacking off. Luckily not all is modernized as all the most classic stunts such have remained as it is. All in all the Workers Club in Beijing did give out an amazing performance.. and it all finished nicely with a crazy motorcycle stunt plus a standing ovation!
What we would have liked to see more, is a better fusion of the classic and modern. Sometimes between the stunts the change was not fluent and we we’re left wondering what is the story of the show. But at the end of the night, with acrobatics you are not there to see a play but amazing tricks that leave you stunned. This wall well achieved over the intense one hour that we experienced!
Also we managed to snap a few amazing photos from the acrobatic show.. Legend of Jinsha is a true gem in the Beijing nightlife scene!
It has become evident that through the increased use of the Internet, the Chinese people have started to seek a larger view of the world. Yet indeed the ongoing discussion on internet news medias and social platforms has raised awareness and engaged the population in discussion.
However the vast majority still take inadequate protective measures against the pollution. Sadly the most vulnerable, children and the elderly are subjected to most harm.
But not only Beijing is covered in smog but so are the minds of the people who have taken a collective choice just move on. How much will it take for individualism to blossom is yet to be seen.
Such is the collective smog in Beijing that has ascended the city. The big question is, what can the ordinary man and woman do to help the situation? If you have any positive suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.
What is it about Beijing that continues to attract visitors? Obviously tourists are somewhat aware of the problems that doom & gloom the city, such as pollution. Those who are on business or study cannot afford to choose their dates carefully, however during the spring and autumn season tourists come in huge quantities knowing their changes of a clear day with a blue sky!
There are many destinations around the world with blue skies all around the year but Beijing has something mystic and truly original about it that continues to attract it’s visitors. Despite the fame of the capital city of China, many might not even know what really awaits for them there. It is a certain kind of pull towards the life there that might not be easy to explain in words.
Speaking of words however, to experience the true fun of the city, Chinese language will come in handy. While it’s possible and highly recommended to do a few Chinese courses before setting afoot, an interpreter will come in extremely handy.
China is full of tour guides who are working more or less independently to bring a service that’s on a very personal level. For such it is unique to China that so many people, especially the young are extremely eager to learn English, meet foreigners.. and what not better job for this is the job of a tour guide.
One good example is May Tours, which is a collective of such tour guides that like to keep their independence. This gives them a change to enjoy their work and ultimately promoting to the enjoyment of the customers visit! Using bigger tour companies is just not worth it…
These bigger companies pay extremely low wages to the guides and might even be more expensive than a regular private tour guide in Beijing. Don’t trust anyone however, check out the reviews and comments previous clients have left!
Please enjoy your stay in Beijing and remember these useful tips. Xie Xie!
Shanghai is known for it’s close proximity to the sea. Yes, there is a huge port industry buzzing near by, yes there is a coastline very close to the city. However no one really ever hears about anything that’s going on over there!
The reason is simple. It’s the fault of the pollution overshadowing the beautiful climate of the city. Once you are inside the city limits, one can feel the air blowing from the sea which is quite pleasant. But what happens if one decides to venture to a nearby beach perhaps. Well, one might be very surprised of the outcome.
Just like Beijing, or pretty much anywhere else in the northern hemisphere of China, the air quality is more or less bad. So even though the cool sea breeze might help to clean out some of the air pollutants, it is clear that the government has yet to find a viable solution to the problem.
When you approach the Shanghai coastline, one might wonder where the hemisphere is. Well, it is often now visible because of the thick smog. As for swimming, mostly it is out of the question since the water is muddy and dirty with pollutants of all kinds. Therefore tourists tend to ignore the fact that Shanghai is right next to something that could be a beautiful coast line.
Locals however are more indeed of refreshing moments and have approached to dams as a solution. By isolating an area of the coast line and using advanced water filter technology, the people of Shanghai have been able to create artificial beaches. What’s surprising however, is that people still prefer not to swim there, neither to take sun since there are only local Chinese!