Hey, there. I'm Tim Parenti, a three-year member of the Heinz Chapel Choir here at the University of Pittsburgh. Every few years, the Heinz Chapel Choir embark on an international concert tour, and this year we're off to China and Hong Kong for a fifteen-day "Great Wall" tour, including four concerts in six cities.
We have such a devoted audience in the States, though (and we love you guys!), so we don't want to leave you out. As such, I've been asked by the Music Department to blog our journey daily as we go along, so that you can follow us and experience a taste of Chinese culture through our eyes.
Since I was planning on keeping in touch anyways, I jumped at the chance! Since the Internet in China can be finicky, the idea is that I'll be posting both here and at my personal blog, so in case anything goes wrong with posting to one site, we'll have the other. So remember to check back daily for updates… and with that, we'll jump right into it!
Day 0 – Monday 27 April 2009
My personal journey began at about 05:30 this morning, doing some final packing before heading out to Pittsburgh International Airport, catching a late-morning flight to New York's John F. Kennedy airport. The tour departs from New York tomorrow morning, and everyone was finding their own way here, so it was a pleasant surprise to find some other choir members on my flight.
The rest of the day has been fairly leisurely here. Because China is 12 hours ahead of Pittsburgh, we'll be pretty jet-lagged when we land in Beijing on Wednesday evening. So, I used my fatigue from waking up early to take some strategic naps during the afternoon — the Chinese night. After heading back to the airport's food court for our last state-side dinner (a classic all-American McDonald's meal), we came back to the hotel to play a little bit of pool. I played one round, which I was surprised to have won.
Now, we're approaching the wee hours of the morning here in New York, but the six of us in my hotel room are staying up and active. We'll be on a plane by 10:00, and we can sleep then. It'll be sixteen hours to Hong Kong, then another three-and-a-half to Beijing, where we'll start our tour. So, it will be a long, but fun trip.
Obviously, since I'll be on planes or in airports for 24 hours straight, the next post won't be until sometime Wednesday (EDT)… from Beijing!