a heart-shaped bicycle.

Just as the full moon disappears back behind the dusty clouds and you almost get run over by funky electric bikes, your rage begins to heighten. A wisp of smoke is blown in your face and the dinosaur path is blocked by construction. Even the trusty ipod is out of energy. Coming towards you at full speed is yet another bicycle, one of a gazillion, but this one catches your eye. It is all black. Shiny black. And there is a delicate basket attached to the front. It has a gorgeous wire-mesh heart attached to it. The man riding it is clearly in love. Probably going to fetch his beautiful wife some delicious little buns for breakfast, while she prepares some fresh soya-bean juice. Yes. All hope in this wonderful day is restored again. The sky even brightens from grey to aqua in an instant and some heart shaped clouds float by….

a weekend in the magical city.

Everytime I go back to Guangzhou I discover some new hidden delight. This past weekend on our hunt to find a late night restaurant we stumbled upon this old pink building with green shutters. Pink and green= sold. It was called ‘Traveller’s Cafe’ and looked so cute. As we entered it felt like I was home, in my Granny’s kitchen, the smell of peaches and cream in the air and old wooden furniture everywhere. What a treat. I ordered grapefruit, aloe and honey tea to drink which was INCREDIBLE. Like an explosion of sweetness. Infact nothing has ever tasted so sweet. Not even if I combined all the most delicious sweets in the whole wide world. Heavenly. And the sweetness didn’t stop there. For dinner I ate rice with duck breast and…PEACHES. With a tomatoey kind of sauce. Gosh. Delicious. I would never ever have mixed peaches with rice, nevermind meat, but by golly, it was sooo yummy. Ah what a cute place.
 
Then our next stop was Loft 345, an awesome underground little bar hidden in a derelict warehouse down by the canal. Creepy? Yes. But fun. So me and Emma were just chilling and sipping and some guy came over and asked if we would mind posing for his art project…? Sure! He then proceeded to explain to us that this project was dealing with sensitive issues, things that Chinese people don’t feel comfortable talking about…He then showed us some polaroid shots of girls posing seductively with a mini black object…yes. Well I’m sure you can guess the rest. So we each took it in turns to pose with this mini object, and by mini, I mean really freaking miniscule. Hilarious. We were even given a free little miniscule tiny object for contributing our poses. Lovely. HAHA.
 
The next day we continued to laugh about our miniscule objects and decided to check out a newish art district in Guangzhou. Right on the eastern outskirts of the city. The coolest places are always the hardest places to find in this city. This art area is called 53 Art Museum. The thing that attracted us was the giant red aluminium containers that houses the various offices. Unfortunately we were not allowed to enter these containers and were scolded by the guard for trying to. However, the highlight for me was the brightly coloured people posing and dancing and poking out of the grass. There was also a cool exhibition of paintings and sculptures and random objects created by two artist friends from different walks of life. They focused primarily on the futuristic destruction of cities, mainly Guangzhou. The way in which a city is built up so much, almost to the extent that things start to rise literally upwards on top of each other. There was one in particular where the roads wound up into the sky and everything was chaotic. What does that say about Guangzhou’s future….?
 
Another fasincating piece was a giant red apple. There was a box of knives next to it with gold and black markers and everyone who had visited had signed a knife and stabbed it into the apple. Yes, I accidentally cut my finger. But it sure felt good to ooze my knife into the giant apple. The skin of the apple popped as my gold starry knife slid through. Now that’s a stress relief. Wow, now I probably sound like some kind of psycho. I promise I’m not :)
 
There was also a hidden projector screen behind a black dusty curtain. Of course, being the crazy people that we are we decided to have a mini rave behind the curtain and create the word L O V E with our bodies, projected against the video of a random construction site in China. Pretty cool.
 
Next up was some tasty Vietnamese food. If you haven’t been to Tiger Prawn in Guangzhou then you should probably get on a plane and come eat it. It’s damn good. Followed by some tasty mini eggs (a late easter treat….thanks Em) and a skip along to Hoolie’s for THE PANDA BAND. They are awesome. And sometimes they do even dress up like pandas and they play awesome covers such as The Pixies :)
 
So even though I no longer live in Guangzhou, it’s still my original Chinese home. Forever. And there will always be plenty of fun discoveries lurking there for me to go and unleash on my further quests for adventure in that lovely, dirty city.

the Chinese Princess and the invisible helicopter.

One of the extra special bonuses of my job is that I sometimes get asked to play a part in a short 3D film. These are used in theme parks around China to introduce the new ride. Earlier this year I was attached to a harness and watching baby dinosaurs fly past. This time we were conluding the same short film, but I was now in a helicopter. Keep in mind this was an invisible helicopter, as it will be added later on in the post-production process. Thus, any slight wrong movement or awkward angle would call for us to do the shot all over again. It took many takes. For some reason I just kept muddling up the lines (not that it matters anyway because I am dubbed over in Chinese..doesn’t make much sense really, why not just use a Chinese actor in the first place..haha?) and then I would burst out laughing and we’d have to start all over again. Might have been the fact that my partner was some Chinese guy who thought he was so cool. All he had to do was sit tight in his aviators and steer our invisible helicopter to safety. Leaving me with all the lines. Or the fact that wind machines were blowing on me and making me chew my hair. Anyway, eventually we got it right and I was able to remove the boots that were three sizes too small for my big ol’ feet.

It’s quite an interesting process. Especially as I haven’t got a clue what the director wants me to do. Although I can understand a fair bit of Chinese, I’m not quite up to speed with dramatic vocabularly and all that techincal jazz. Luckily I have a translator with me, and have got my miming skills down. It’s all acting in the end.

Sometimes though, it becomes rather tedious. So this time, after waiting for my friend to finish her scene, I decided to dress up as a Chinese princess. My friend (Chinese voice actor) was doing a dance scene and she was wearing flowing fabric and looked so delicate and pretty. I decided I wanted to dress up like her so the costume girls gave me about 3 robes to wear, including a funky purple and gold one. I was like a big klutz trying to figure out the finger movements in traditional Chinese dance. It’s very complicated. I didn’t quite pull off the elegance as well as my friend, but here’s some photos to provide you with some entertainment…

Me and the lovely princess.

the cool director :)

lovely costume and make up girls.

a cartoon world.

I love my job. I go to work everyday and enter a cartoon world. From outer space to bouncy marshmallow lands, to faraway Zodiac lands, I get to travel all around this magical world. I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon voice actor eversince the days of watching Rugrats everyday of the week and dreaming of playing a naughty little girl just like Angelica.

My dream job found me! And the first character I played for two seasons was Small Fry, from a series called Chicken Stew. She is a little rascal chicken and when she’s not using her ridiculously big brain to create escape routes to get away from the hungry weasels, she’s glued to her video game console. She’s cute and I miss her!

I am now playing a little cockney piglet called Truffles in a series called Zodiac Way. He’s a chubby little thing and he loves to eat toffee apples on a stick and play with his buddies Bunny Brett and Baa Baa Lou.

Today I started playing the flirty bunny rabbit Velvet Touch. She wears bright purple eyeshadow and is the town detective/ crime solver lady. She is very airy fairy and fun to play!

My next character will be Flutterby. The pretty butterfly in a series called Brainy Bubbly Bug Buddies. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

Here are some pictures of my cutsie characters:

Small Fry in the midde.

Velvet on the left and Truffles on the right.
Flutterby on the left.

the umpteen umbrella maze.

The sunniest day in the world. I skip along the path in my flowery sunglasses and my delicate ghostly white skin embraces the warm rays shining down. Purple frilly socks and a flowery tutu dress. Summer is in the air. However, not everyone is thinking the same thing. I pass one girl wearing long sleeves and gloves. Yes, gloves. And a big straw hat. As I change my ipod to a more sparkly song, I almost bump into a crowd of girls strolling by with their big umbrellas. Yes. Umbrellas in the sunshine. No sign of tanning around here. Taint my white skin? Are you kidding? That’s not my opinion. I love to have a sprinkle of freckles splattered across my face. But the girls out here wouldn’t dream of such things. If they carried vintage parasols, I could forgive them. But really, umbrellas? In the lovely sunshine? Rather wear some sweet-smelling sun lotion and some cool sunglasses.

Ah well. At least they’re always prepared for when it rains. Unlike me. Today, for example, we had a big thunderstorm. Of course I didn’t bring my umbrella. Oh, but I was the only one. Running along the dinosaur path towards the metro, I had to duck and jump and bend and twirl, just to avoid being poked in the eye by one of the million umbrellas passing me by. I’ve honestly never seen so many umbrellas in my life before. It was like a colourful maze filled with dangerous objects that I had to bypass in order to reach the exit.
But I made it through. The only negative aspects being a wet nose and slightly damp feet. And of course the hundreds of stares at the fact I was braving the rain without the sacred umbrella.

marshmallow clouds and sparkly blue skies.

When I find myself floating back to old Guangzhou, I always visit my favourite haunts. A few weeks ago I stumbled back to Redtory. A really cool art district, made up of many old warehouses in the eastern part of the city. Extremely difficult to find, it’s hidden down some little alleys, covered in graffiti and the smell of fried noodles. It’s a true hidden gem. The first time I went there was last year during an Italian film festival. It took two days for me to actually find it, but it was worth it in the end. This time I went there on a Sunday afternoon and it was so chilled. Photographers everywhere. Exciting art exhibits and little side cafes selling everything from China all the way to Mexico, and ice cream with yummy m&m’s sprinkled on top. On weekends they have a quaint little market filled with local crafts and even random animal ears (not real ones…). There was a real buzz in the air and the sunshine was beaming down and I was eating strawberry ice cream and enjoying all the photos of people on trains in China.