I just realized last night, after getting into a taxi, riding along in heavy Friday evening traffic, one thing I really do not miss is the blaring stereos from cars back home. This part of US culture is nonexistent. This is relief! I always thought that was the ultimate rudeness when people blared their crap music so loud that neighboring houses would shake. The loudest obnoxious music here is mainly in large grocery stores, which I have started to avoid, and in small DVD/CD shops trying to lure customers in.

I managed to find a concert venue last night with the help of the taxi driver. Sponsored by the Shanghai Symphony, each Friday night is a chamber music concert in their concert hall. Some things did not change in 10 years. Like unheated performance halls. It was a bit chilly but I really felt sorry for the cellist's fingers. The most musical inspiration I got was from a Liszt Ballade in b minor for piano and Beethoven piano sonata 11. The way the wooden chairs were set up I could not see the cellists perform except by watching the monitor of a person in front of me recording the performance. The accoustics were acceptable but I really found out how spoiled I was at home with truly great performance spaces to regularly choose from. The funniest thing was the symphony equipment was hidden by a fold-out wooden panel screen but the bottom three inches or so was open, so during the concert you could see feet moving around 'back stage'. I loved the program, which when open makes a small poster I can use in a classroom, when I eventually have one!

One last little note: melodies coming from strange places. When I fill my 15 L drum for purified drinking water, the tunes for Jingle Bells, The First Noel and O Come O Come Emmanuel play out of the machine; when I start my washer it also plays an annoying digital tune as it does to alert when it has finished.


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