Pipe Band in China: Day 1 in Nanning

We left Edinburgh at 4pm on Wednesday and after a long journey via Paris and Shanghai we arrived at our hotel in Nanning at midnight on Thursday night. Our rooms are lovely and spacious and on the 33rd – 37th floors of the hotel giving us excellent views across the city. The temperature is in the low 30’s and very humid.

We are joined on the trip by Olivia Contini who is a representative of Scottish China Education Network(SCEN). Olivia is originally from Musselburgh and is living in Guang studying Chinese.

We were up bright and early on the Friday morning. Breakfast

at 7am and left the hotel at 8.30am dressed in full band uniform ready to do our first gig at Nanning Out of School Educational Activity Centre for Primary and Secondary Schools. When we arrived at the school we were led into the concert venue and across the top of the stage was a huge banner which said, “Welcome to the teachers and students of Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band,” which did indeed make us feel very welcome. We gave a short 10 minute performance which was warmly received and were then treated to a variety of performances from young people playing traditional Chinese instruments and songs. The talent on display from the Chinese children was truly impressive.

At the end of the performances Olivia Contini and the Director of the school signed a “Memoranda of Understanding” between SCEN and the school to establish long term links and exchanges.

Lots of photos were then taken and various members of the band were interviewed for local television.

We were then treated to a short tour of the school and had some fun in their award-winning robotics department.

We had lunch in a local restaurant where we sampled a vast array of strange and wonderful foods. Everyone in the group tried most things on offer however nobody was brave enough to eat the chicken head that was served with the chicken.

After lunch, we went on a trip with some of the Chinese students to Qingxiu mountain, which was akin to the botanic gardens on a hillside. The weather was far too hot for us to do any serious walking so instead we were driven around on a small open sided bus. The gardens were immaculately kept and the views from the top across the city were stunning.

Afterwards we were taken back to our hotel where everyone was glad to change out of our pipe band gear into shorts and t-shirts and for some much needed rest and relaxation.

Everyone is in good spirits and making the most of what should be an unforgettable trip.

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