Last semester (ok, so we’re running a little behind on the blog here!) in the wake of our trip, Adrian was invited to appear on the English-language talk show Tuesday Dessert (“yummy!”) on our Peizheng College radio station. The hostess, whose English name is Blueberry (even off the air) interviewed him about various aspects of the recently-completed Quest.
Right-click and choose “Save target as…” or “Save link as…” if you want to download the file to listen to later.
(NOTE: email subscribers, please use this link to download the audio file.)
You can skip to 2:00 if you want to get past the suspenseful intro.
In addition to some very dramatic background music swells, in this radio show you’ll hear the following tidbits:
Adrian and Albert referred to as “The Double A” (2:50)
Albert repeatedly referred to as Adrian’s “partner” (the Chinese don’t know the other connotations that go with that word nowadays)
Adrian saying the only reason he wanted Albert to come was to be his personal translator (4:40)
Blueberry insinuating that we embezzled money from our charity street performing (10:50)
Blueberry getting the name of the “quite famous” TV show wrong. She said we were on Yǒng zhě zǒng dòng yuán 勇者总动员 which is another TV station’s obstacle course show, but we were actually on Zhì yǒng dà chōng guān 智勇大冲关 – click here to watch (12:50)
Adrian’s shocking admission that he “first left home” in 1998 (18:20) when we was seven years old (19:30)
Adrian blaming Albert’s busy schedule for our lack of progress on the book (21:40)
Blueberry admitting the only reason she invited Adrian on the show was to get a free book (22:00)
(We cut out the song from “Vampire Diaries”, just so you know what that little non sequitur was if you listened to Blueberry’s Chinese spiel at the end)
But seriously folks, we actually have started writing the book and we’re going to submit the book proposal to some publishers before the end of this semester. We’ll continue posting any updates about the book on this blog.
On Tuesday night (September 7) of last week we invited some friends to Albert’s apartment and gathered round his television. At 7.30pm the familiar sight of Hunan TV’s obstacle course show started and within 5 minutes of watching, there we were, standing on the stage, being interviewed in Chinese and singing a song to the hosts! It was a surreal experience to say the least, watching ourselves on the screen with the knowledge that at that moment people all over China were watching us too! (We’ve already had people come up to us saying they saw us on TV the other night.)
Our interview was edited down from 2 minutes to about 20 seconds (they’d cut us down to allow more time for the next contestant who drank a whole bottle of beer through his nose!) and we soon found that the host had got a bit confused about our trip:
“And now we would like to introduce two foreign teachers from Guangdong Peizheng College” announced the male host in Chinese. “They are Albert and Adrian. Without spending any money, these two teachers have gone from Urumqi to Guangdong!” (We think he got confused about the hitchhiking challenge we had just told him about.) And just to make sure everyone misunderstood, a large Chinese subtitle flashed across the screen, “Not spending any money, from Urumqi to Guangdong”!
Adrian rolled the dice, aiming as all the contestants do, to get a “3”. This would mean that if we got past the turntables, we would win a prize! It was then time to tackle the course. By clicking on the link below you’ll see how we did.
(Our interview starts at 4:29 but we appear at various times during the show’s intro segment.)
Adrian’s only excuse is that it’s a lot harder than it looks on TV, at least that’s his story and he’s sticking to it! “Be careful! Stand up quickly!” the female host shouted as he fell before he even reached the first hurdle! “Oh! He should have done better than that! He’s so tall!” the other host said in disbelief!
In contrast, as Albert tackled the course, the host can be heard saying, “Albert, you’ve got the prize! We can give him the water heater! Can he upgrade the prize? Oh, he fell! He had the disinfection cabinet for a moment and now he has to give it back!”
Hope you enjoy the show as much as we did!
(There’s a full transcript of everything that was said in Chinese as well as the Chinese subtitles that periodically flashed up on the screen coming soon.)
Challenge 15: Find a Chinese girl taller than Albert and take a picture with her.
Despite this being one of the students’ favorite challenges for us, we always expected to fail especially since, in our combined 10 years in China, neither of us have ever seen one. Girls taller than 190 cm (6′ 3″) aren’t really that easy to find in any country.
It’s widely accepted that northerners are taller than southerners. But even when we were north of the Yangtze River (the traditional dividing line between the North and South), we scanned the horizon for candidates but found none. We were constantly on the lookout for anyone who exceeded Albert’s height, but in the end only found four boys who were tall enough.
In the end, we just ran out of time because the filming of the TV show was on day 29 and we had to come back to our college from Changsha the next day. We’d been advised by a few people to seek out professional athletes (especially basketball and volleyball players), but even if we’d had a chance to do that there was no guarantee (only four of China’s national women’s basketball team are taller than Albert).
But, we did snap a backup picture along the way (see below) just in case we came up short on this challenge. Maybe the students will let us pass when they see the photo. But even if they don’t, we still beat the fortune tellers’ predictions that we’d only accomplish 9 of our 15 challenges.
Final Stats for the Trip:
Challenges completed: 12 of 15
Total days: 30
Total distance traveled: over 7000 km (4350 miles)
(As the crow flies, that’s about the distance of London to New Delhi or Anchorage to Washington DC)
Total provinces visited: 11 (Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong)
Different modes of transportation after start: 12 (bicycle, boat, bus, donkey cart, motor bike, mini van, private car, semi / lorry , SUV / 4×4, taxi, tractor, train, tricycle taxi)
What Happens Next?
We’re going to spend the next months writing the book. This blog has just given brief glimpses into the stories that we’re looking forward to telling. We’ll put any updates about the book on this same blog so subscribers will automatically receive book news.
Thanks to everyone who followed our trip and especially thanks to all the generous, warm-hearted Chinese people who helped us along the way!