guest post: paperdoll's all or nothing china tour, day 5-7

Teresa Lee, lead singer of the New York City-based indie pop band PaperDoll, is dropping guest posts on the road during the "All or Nothing" China tour.

DAY 5-6

We're off to Ningbo! Waiting outside our hotel, I get a call from our host in YiWu -- Jack Wu -- who's supposed to drop us off at the bus station. He's running late because he got into a car accident. Despite getting the bumper of his car ripped off, he picks us up 45 minutes before our bus leaves. I'm a little nervous about making our bus, but Jack Wu is cool and collected.

Thirty minutes before our bus departure we pull up to a noodle house. Our gracious host was not about to have us leave hungry! Obviously. So during his car accident he made reservations and ordered ahead at this super authentic YiWu noodle house.

I ate the most delicious (and I know I'm saying this phrase a lot during this tour) slow-cooked beef broth with hand-pulled broad noodles. It was a flavor explosion of savory beef marrow, fat, and meat.

Full-bellied, we board the bus to Ningbo -- a city that sits on the bed of three major rivers and therefore has an abundance of seafood. Last year, we had manta shrimp, fresh water crab, and beef ribs that made me feel like Fred Flintstone ordering a dinosaur rib during the opening credits of The Flintstones.

We were excited to go back to this back-alley mom and pop site. When we arrived at Bund Bridge Bar to sound check, our mouths were already watering in anticipation. Our soundcheck took longer than usual and we only had 30 minutes to find food and get back for our show... the manta shrimp would have to wait.

The audience was a mix of locals and immigrants from the US and Australia; everyone danced together and by the end we were all good friends. After a late-night jam session which included some traditional Irish music courtesy of our very own Patrick Moloney, we were ready to head back to the hotel. Looking around the room, we noticed we were sans one drummer.

We searched far and wide -- "far" meaning we looked around the room and "wide" meaning while sitting at the bar -- before we concluded Will was probably fine. After all he only took a few of those brown-ish colored shots from that skull-shaped shot glass. So we left. In our defense, we were really really tired.

The next day, we found Will wandering around the breakfast area in hotel slippers wearing his clothes from the night before. Everyone was in good spirits. After some fried eggs, toast, soy milk, fried dough, and congee (I LOVE Chinese breakfast) we went for a quick walk around to look for the illusive seafood Utopia from last year.

After an hour of walking though back alleys and asking locals, we learn the restaurant is closed. I'm not saying that the only reason we booked in Ningbo was for the manta shrimp, but I will say that if the club paid us in manta shrimp I would not have turned it down.

Defeated, we wandered into a noodle shop where they hand pulled the noodles and cooked it in a lamb broth ... I ate one of the top 3 lunches I've ever eaten.

The soupy-noodle lunch cured my "special" headache from the night before. I can't say it did the same for Will because be was unable to keep anything down. This was the first time I've ever seen him turn down food so he must have had a super "special" headache.

To add insult to injury, while at the train station, Will put down his cymbal bag in gum.

On the train to Hangzhou, his luck turned when he found a surface to rest his head and some local companions who shared his unique condition.

While on the train Patrick and I amused ourselves by trying to stick a cigar-shaped cookie into Jack's mouth. Although unsuccessful in task, I count it as a victory as it kept everyone in our car entertained for a good 10 minutes.


We arrive in Hangzhou at 9pm and by then Will has gotten his appetite back. We go searching for deliciousness and we find it in a mini-hotpot! The food is semi-cooked in a very hot stone pot when they bring it to the table. Then it cooks the rest of the way in front of us sort of like Beepimbop. Our only meal in Hangzhou before flying out to Beijing at 9am the next day for our "Pai Shou Ba" gig!

Pai Shou Ba is an online destination for music, games, and social networking that's taking China by storm. We debuted our album Sashimi Deluxe on this new media platform to launch our tour. We've worked with a lot of media groups; all of whom claim to be champions of music and musicians. They all talk the talk but Pai Shou Ba actually walks the walk.

When two of our Hangzhou gigs fell through, Pai Shou Ba not only booked us a gig at Yugong Yishan (the best live house in Beijing), but also flew us out there and put us up. We stopped by their offices -- a spectacularly converted house with a spiral staircase, glass doors, and a rooftop conference room. They treated us like family -- we ate dumplings and sipped on their most excellent cappuccinos. I've never met a media company so committed to supporting musicians. Big shout out to CEO Thomas Reemer and Head of Media Carmen Zech who personally made our trip to Beijing happen. Sincerely -- Thank you.

Twenty-two hours after landing in Beijing, we were back on a flight to play a gig in Hangzhou.

angry archive