It was with great delight that the Chipman three finally met up with the other MATTEO two in the lobby of the dormitories of Sichuan University about 12:00 am Tuesday morning.
Later that day, 9:30 am to be precise, we sat on one side of a long table on squeaky black leather chairs, an old woman pouring fresh tea and nodding as three other women discussed with us the logistics of our stay in serious voices. All three then proceeded to break character and squeal with delight when we pulled Anna out of her carrier. In fact, the term “squeal with delight” may very well have been created to describe most, if not all, the Chinese women we’ve met’s reactions to seeing her. They cannot help it. Grown men and women, jumping up and down, pulling ridiculous faces, talking in high-pitched voices, and pulling out camera phones. If MATTEO becomes even slightly popular in China, all credit goes to our 9 month old.
The campus is lovely. And because we live at least 20 minutes walking distance away from any food or anywhere we need to go, and because we are all curious and perhaps not-yet familiar with the campus layout, we walk a lot. Within the four large gates of Sichuan University’s campus we have walked by or through: a lotus pond in bloom, small crumbling alleys with heavy trees and hanging laundry, fields of bricks and shoes, a brightly colored kindergarten blaring English dance music, a small market of carts spilling over with massive mushrooms, squash, and dark green lettuce, misty rain with drops that seem to hang suspended in the air, and rusty bicycles bouncing along the broken cement and cobbled roads.
There seem to be no traffic laws other than a perpetual game of chicken. You are free to drive either way on either side of the street. Honking is constant, in a very non-aggressive way: simply the means of telling someone you’re coming.
The woman in charge of co-ordinating our being hosted by the University is named Zheng Han, and she is a delight. She also almost ran into an old woman riding a bike this morning when she was talking to us and pulled out without slowing into an intersection. Neither her nor the woman seemed phased by the event that made all of us short of breath from the back seat.
After many afternoons of searching and trying out instruments and negotiating prices in cramped music stores, we are happy to report that we are now in possession of (renting or bought) all the instruments we’ll be using to write and record this e.p. We were quite the sight: four obviously non-asians with case fulls of traditional chinese instruments banging along as we walked the busy streets pushing a baby stroller.
|notebook we found yesterday|