Behind the Silk Curtain.

After many hours in the air and filling out the custom forms, the 747 began to descend.  I looked out the window expecting to see a vast sprawl of night lights from one of the most populated cities in the world.  To my surprise there was total darkness with a few street lights and a few car headlights scattered around. Were we landing in the right place, the capital of the billion people country. We were ushered past the customs luggage check with five of the waiters from the restaurant ready to grab each piece of the mountain of music gear that cost $800 to check on the Air China flight from LA to Beijing with a quick stop in Honolulu. Our two month commitment begins to perform 6 nights a week in the ground floor restaurant of 4 star hotel in the embassy district downtown.  We were driven to the restaurant in an ungrounded Cherokee Jeep that would give us a static shock when getting out as soon as our feet touched the ground.  The smell of burning coal was as thick as the January night air was cold. Arriving late at night, we were offered fried rice which was a mix of leftovers from the evenings menu which all the staff would eat daily. Our adventure begins…..