Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 292 – Chinese Square Dancing

It was another hard morning with tears as I interviewed and said good-bye to some of my students.  I still have another week of these interviews and good-byes!  How am I going to get through?

We had a quick lunch and then a short nap before we went to RT Mart for some groceries.  Then we were just being quiet here until we got a call from Eva at about 5:15.  She wanted to take us to Quancheng Square so we could see all the things that go on there and have us do some dancing.

We hadn’t had dinner yet, so we went to a nice restaurant first that Eva’s friend, Yi Bing, knew about.  It was good food and then we sat and talked for a while.  We walked to Quancheng Square from the restaurant.  Quancheng Square was built in preparation for the Olympics 2008.  It covers quite a large area and a large statue that represents the springs of the city.  Jinan’s nickname is “The City of Springs.”  There are over 72 springs in the city itself and many more in the whole area. 

We stopped at several places and watched people doing different activities.  We were watching a couple of people do a game that looked like badminton, but played with a ball that has a tail and a racquet that had a latex-like covering where the strings would be.  David tried his hand at it, but it is really tough to do and you have to have a really fluid motion, almost a dance move to do it.  As we were watching this game, a young girl, 9 years-old, looked up at me and I smiled at her.  She said, “Hi” in a shy voice and I said “Hi” back.  Then I asked her name.  She told me her Chinese name and then said that her English name was “Monica.”  I talked to her a little more, but that had about exhausted all of her English.  Monica and her mother went away happy.
This group was trying to cool of in the moat.  The water is pretty cold, so they jump in and swim the moat as fast as they can.  The person on the far right is changing her clothes under the sheet.  We didn't see a thing...

A kung-fu class for kids was a part of the activities on the square.

The guy in blue and the woman in brown across the net were pretty good at this.  Hard to capture it with the night lights.

Then we moved on to the part of the square where they were dancing.  The first song was a Cha-cha, so David and I were out there doing the Cha-cha.  When that was done, we were watching several other dance and moved to a different area to see them better.  David and I were trying to decide what the best dance step was for the song that was currently playing and I thought it was a Fox Trot, and since it has been a LONG time since we really went dancing, I was showing David how the dance went.  An older Chinese gentleman, who was probably a professional dancer at one time, saw me practicing and invited me to dance with him.  WOW, did we dance!  I was trying to catch on as quickly as I could, but when you are rusty, it takes a while.  I think I was doing pretty well by the time the dance ended.
Dancing with my Chinese gentleman.

David showing Eva some steps.

David showing Yi Bing some steps.  I couldn't get a good enough shot of her when she was facing me, so this is what you will see of Yi Bing today!

The next dance was a rather fast waltz, but it made me dizzy to try and waltz it that fast.  Along came the same gentleman and we started dancing to that one!  David took Eva out for a little while.  The man was trying to get Eva to dance with him, but she felt too shy.  We enjoyed our dance and then I went back to stand with Yi Bing, Eva and David.  A really catchy number came on and it was one that the Chinese have a dance to, kind of a line dance, and Eva was doing it, so I joined in.  I was doing it pretty well and then the same Chinese gentleman comes along and we are dancing again.  We had drawn a pretty good crowd to watch us by this time.  I think they liked that an American was doing a Chinese dance.  It was a lot of fun!

David and I tried to dance one more dance, but I was pretty tired by this time and it was 9:15 now.  Eva needed to leave so that she could be up early to administer a test at the university in the morning, so David and I got on the bus to take us home and Eva and Yi Bing got a taxi.  What an evening!

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