The opera and pocket aces

Trip Start Jun 04, 2009
Trip End Jul 02, 2009

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Monday, June 15, 2009

Today Jason and Sara leave.  They're going to live on an organic farm and be farm hands.  They made it sound fun even though I'd never do it myself.  Before they left we went to visit a Buddhist temple.  The grounds were nice but having spent a lot of time in S.E. Asia I wasn't overly impressed.  What they did have was a restaurant with over 100 Chinese items.  Everything from fried rice, to chicken and meat, to exotic seafood items.  The twist was everything on the menu was vegetarian.  It all looked and tasted like the dish it was emulating.  It was pretty good and the staff thought Jason looked like Roger Federer and wanted to take a picture with him.
After lunch Jason and Sara left for the train station and I spent some time on the Internet.   The girls at the guesthouse had been pushing the Sichuan opera on us all week.  I wasn't really interested but I wasn't meeting the other Jason in Beijing until the following day so decided what the heck.
I got to the opera and went to the area where the performers put on their makeup and acted like a tourist snapping pictures.  Once at my seat ladies came by to offer tea.  They poured the tea into your cup from a teapot with a 4 foot long spout.  Those girls could hit a tea cup from what seemed at least 10 feet away.
The opera started and I was pleasantly surprised.  There were several acts but my favorites were the shadow puppets and the comedy skit about a man and his wife I didn't understand a word of but laughed the entire time.  The best part and most famous are the magical face changes.  Performers wear masks and change them in the blink of an eye to display a new mask representing a new emotion.  describing it can not come close to how cool and magical it was to see these guys changing their masks right in front of you without a clue as to how they pull it off.  One performer changed his face 10 times in 20 seconds.  I highly recommend this to anyone who ever has the chance to see it.
After the opera I went over to Dave's Oasis for a beer.  I met some ex-pats who were playing cards.  They asked me if knew the game Texas Hold'em and I said "no, but I'm willing to learn".  I bought in for a hundred bucks and busted some punk kid from France within 10 minutes.  I guess they don't know how to check raise with the nuts in France?  They did get a kick out of me playing blind which for sme odd reason throws people off their game and usually wins me money.  I drank a bunch of vodka and played with these guys until 5 a.m.  Why do I do this myself?  I was a bit panicked knowing I had to be at the airport by 10 a.m. and was quite drunk.  Oh well, one of these days I'll learn...maybe.
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