china '01

page 8

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Brrrr and Ouch

3/3/01 8PM

shovel ceremonyI go from having too many photos to almost none at all.

This was not a great day. The first day of a multi-day contest is never my favorite - it is a difficult thing to make the first cuts and always wondering if the design should quick be altered before it is too late. But the usual first day jitters were compounded by the weather - which took a serious turn for the worse. Yesterday's sunshine and balmy temperatures lulled us into thinking that today would be the same but we we sorely disappointed.

The opening day "Shoveling Ceremony" was actually quite fun (this from a person who doesn't stand much on ceremony and is generally irritated by those who insist upon it.) Of course there were long speeches and endless introductions but the music was fun and when everyone started dancing it got even more so. The cameramen were having a field day focusing on all the sculptors - foreign and domestic - shaking their collective booties and I am here to tell you that if anyone tells you that the Chinese people don't know how to rock, they are feeding you a line.

But the morning was cool and it got downright cold as the day progressed. It didn't rain which was a blessing but the wind was brutal and many of us were caught unprepared. Post lunch we were bussed back to the hotel for warmer clothes and I put on three layers of everything. Carving went better for me in the afternoon but another problem - an old muscle ache from one of my last pre-travel work-outs - grew progressively worse as the day went on. This is very strong sand and my tools could perhaps be sharper and by the end of the day my right (carving) arm was barely functional.

Fortunately, the great team I was assigned helped pick up the slack. They are learning English quickly (more! stop! out! great!) and some of them have really got the hang of burnishing with the colored sand. I point, they carve, and all in all I think we got a lot done today. But I worry about tomorrow and the rest of the week. I don't think this throb is going to go away any time soon.

Comparative shots: one of my room the day I arrived. The second after I have lived here for 3 days. My mother would recognize it anywhere.

my room 1 my room 2

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