It's really impressive to see all the ultra-modern hotels, concert halls, high-speed rail and airports in this 'New China'. I have been to China several times now, and every time I come back I am amazed at how it has modernized by leaps and bounds. Walking around the area where we stayed and played last night felt like being in a city of the future. But sometimes, when things like this airport incident happen, I get the feeling that it doesn't all quite work yet! I think it's only a matter of time, but there has been such a rapid change in so many aspects of life here that it's as though people haven't had a chance to adjust yet. If you think about how Europe changed and became more modern over centuries, and China is doing that and much more in the space of a couple of decades. It's wild to literally see it happen right before your eyes. One thing I feel more strongly than ever on this trip is that China IS the future, and that's why it's so important that the Philharmonia is over here playing great concerts with a conductor like Maestro Maazel. The audiences so far have been really passionate, erupting into cheers after the final chords of Mahler 1!
This afternoon in Shanghai a few of us sampled an older Chinese tradition- Xiao Long Bao, the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, which were fantastic! That was followed by a walk on the Bund, the famous promenade along the Huangpu river which has old buildings from the colonial period on one side and the brand-spanking new skyline of the Pudong area on the other. Clearly the right move at this point is cocktails in a spot overlooking all this grandeur, now that's Shanghai in style!