Since this was our first trip out of the big city, I sat next to a window and took plenty of blurry snapshots of the passing countryside. The mountains around Beijing emerged from the smog once we were on the highway. Soon time worn hutongs and new condos filled my view. Then we were into areas of countryside where the agricultural fields looked familiar but the buildings and sheds were decidedly Chinese. Jim pointed out how many lines of trees had been planted. China is going green. Even in the city all the motor scooters are electric. So instead of announcing themselves with noisy belches and tinny thrum, they can quietly sneak up on pedestrians and pass by with a few microns of air space to spare. This causes me to jump rather a lot.
Near us sat a young woman from Wales named Tanya who directs and teaches in a music school and a film maker who has lived all around the globe and was originally from Hawaii. We enjoyed meeting them. Mark is so good at talking to new people.
Dream Valley is in the midst of construction. An entire valley with tall rounded peaks, including one famous rocky notch, is being excavated and transformed into a series of theater complexes, classrooms, and, to help support this output of arts, they are building many condos. Tony said the whole idea boiled down to "if we build it, they will come." He is acting as a creative consultant for this enterprise which they call an "Eastern Culture Aggregation." All the condos have already been bought as investments. Hopefully people will want to actually live here. It is so beautiful, I'd buy in if I could.
|Newly completed Dream Valley Theatre|
|Tony Stimac welcomes our arrival. Kemin Zhang on right.|
|Men and women dance in skirts.|
|The little boy is the only person I saw who yawned through Classical Music.|
|The really last row...||Workers watch through back door. Even the toddler.|
|Outside were the condos in the colors of the stones of the mountains. That is Mark Allen's head in silhouette.|
|Inside were gift wrapped seats, large posters of dancers, and a slew of photographers.|
|Charlotte was MC||Charlotte translates Tony's remarks.|
We were handed a complimentary book of the art show. I hadn't realized I'd missed a gallery opening while munching and gabbing! I passed a diorama of the finished center and took photos of it. Then took photos of the same view under excavation as we low geared it off the mountain. The bus ride back to Beijing went quickly. Tony stayed behind, a bouquet of bright blossoms in his arm.