Bridging the Holiday Gap (China Edition)
Most people love the holidays. They can finally get off work and take a break. Actors are the opposite; they can't wait for months unwanted holiday to end so they can finally get some work!
Since I have two families from two nations, winter holidays are always a double-whammie. First I have to cross the Christmas-New Year's stretch in the US, then its back off to China for a 10-day Chinese New Year/Spring Festival marathon. This holiday cabbage patch is so tightly clustered that there's almost no room for work in between. It drove me apes and bats for a couple years, but this year I've finally been able to sit back, grab a candy cane and/or pork dumpling, and let the inevitable season of no-income spending pan out. The world never really changes, but it gets easier when you accept it for what it is and work with what you've got.
So I rode it out. I had Christmas and New Years in the US, and rushed back to Beijing for a Jet Li movie that never worked out, stayed another week in Beijing for an Andy Lau movie that never worked out, and finally gave up and joined my in-laws touring through Kunming, Banna, and Xi'an for 10 days during their holiday. I just relaxed, went with the flow, and didn't let all this bother me. "Patience is a virtue", "build it and they will come", and all that jazz. Banna was an interesting stop that most occidentals haven't heard of. It's a small tropical town on the border of China and Myanmar, which boast a rather lively bar scene and oodles of tropical gardens. The people there are mostly a Dai ethnic minority who have common ancestors with Thais, and are very polite and friendly. It also helped the my mom-in-law had friends in the army who drove us around everywhere. Overall a pleasant trip. (I really have to say that my mom-in-law's new boyfriend drinks way too much though, and this whole "you're not a man unless you drink copius amounts of booze every night with your dinner" has made me want to quit alcohol all together).
I just got back into Beijing today thouroughly rested up, and the Chinese are finally showing signs of work readiness. I have a few shows lined up all ready, the first is starting in two days. I am playing a international thief/lockpick/playboy. Should be interesting. Right after is a comedy about three American WW2 airman captured by Chinese hillbillies who have never seen the Japanese and think the white boys are the enemy. Also should be, uh, interesting.
Until we meet again!
Photos by Nathaniel Boyd and Family
--- Nathaniel Boyd