Saturday, November 17, 2012


The Dunhuang theme continues. We laid on a lunch at the Ambassador's Residence (HMA in absentia) for around 20 people from London, Beijing, Urumqi and of course Dunhuang itself. It  went OK although we weren't sure whether the muslim contingent were halal or not, so played safe with veggie. I sat next to an archaeologist from Urumqi who looked longingly at my roast lamb, so perhaps we got that wrong. He spoke no English but we had Japanese between us which made for an interesting if stilted conversation. 
This turned out to be another theme as our Japanese friends Michiko, Kazuko, Takeru and children came round for afternoon tea. They'd been to Dunhuang. Most Japanese people over the age of 40 have seen the classic NHK TV documentary about the Silk Road. It took seven years to plan & film (mostly simply trying to get permission) before finally being transmitted in 1980 in 12 monthly instalments, followed by various sequels throughout the 80s. The soundtrack, by Kitaro, is almost as famous as the programme, and I have the original two LPs. There were ooohs and aaahs as I showed them the sleeves and of course, being original Japanese releases, they had tons of inserts which we poured over while eating Liz's delicious English sandwiches & scones. Never mind the British Council - this is cultural relations.

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