Friday night marked the first event at the Great Wall Swing Out - the 2012 Beijing Lindy Exchange. The evening kicked off with an amazing dinner, featuring the famous chinese dish - Peking Duck. I thought I'd had Peking duck before, but this was something else! This was followed by the dance in the basement of the Worker's Museum, featuring a live band, and a 1920's & 30's feel.
Then, on Saturday morning, we headed off to Tianjin, a couple of hours away on bus. After a lunch of Tianjin's famous dish - Gobuli Baozi - we visited a few of its more famous and cultural areas, with another enormous dinner and dance at one of China's last still-fully-furnished opera houses.
Finally, on Sunday morning, we trundled onto a bus and headed for The Great Wall of China. Of course, I'd seen photos of it, but that had hardly prepared me for beholding but a small section of the 6000 km long fortress. What's more, we had a section next to the wall that was perfect for swing dancing, and we were contractually obliged to do the Shim Sham on the wall itself. After returning to Beijing, we saw the evening out with more dancing at a local club, with a 1950s feel and a kicking local rockabilly band playing. All in all, I would have to say that this has been one of the most enjoyable exchanges that I've been on - with an extremely friendly scene, great venues and bands, a good balance of dancing, socialising and cultural experiences. I'd definitely consider going back again next year.
Speaking of swing dancing - today is May 6th, which marks two years since I went to my first class with Swing Patrol. I never imagined that learning the lindy hop would lead me to dance in so many wonderful places, from Melbourne to Hobart, Perth, Sydney and Canberra - to Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, and the Great Wall of China!
Happy Swingiversary to me!