Robert Siegel

Amy Tan Offers Us Some Advice

(Robert Siegel spoke to author Amy Tan this week for a story about the village of Dimen. She writes about the Dong village in the forthcoming May issue of National Geographic magazine.)

Amy Tan

Amy Tan on recent visit to Washington, D.C. to speak about her upcoming National Geographic article. Lars Gotrich, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lars Gotrich, NPR

Amy Tan had this advice for my forthcoming trip to Chengdu: I must ask to see a Chinese opera. When I am told about a very famous (and, as she says, 'glitzy') one I must refuse and demand to see a REAL one. Then when I told about a real one, I must refuse again and insist on going to the outdoor opera that the farmers go to when they come to the city. The Chinese, she says, will think I am nuts but, this way, I'll see an authentic Chinese opera. Her other guidance: I must buy an umbrella for the sun.



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I don't like this advice. It's sort of asking a Chinese person who never went to an opera to listen to the Ring Cycle by Wagner instead of Carmen.

Sent by Ming | 2:09 PM | 4-18-2008

Oh No!

No, Robert, not an umbrella for the sun! Certainly not for you!

Ladies use umbrellas for the shade under the sun. It's
very common in China.

But for you?

You might at the least be considered a wimp if you use an umbrella whenever the sun breaks out, which is not often in Chengdu as Melissa reported.

Go to see and enjoy the Chinese opera (you can see Sichuan opera or Beijing opera in Chengdu), but if you insist on bringing an umbrella for the sun, do let Melissa use it.

Sent by Jian | 3:27 PM | 4-18-2008

Trust me, don't use that umbrella, otherwise my grandma will have another funny story to tell. She has plenty of foreigner stories already.

As for Chinese Opera, I would say try Sichuan Opera first since you're in Chengdu. There are couple of Sichuan Opera shows that are funny. Plus, you don't even need to know Chinese in order to enjoy the show.

Sent by Liang Huang | 10:46 PM | 4-18-2008

It's funny to see a man using umbrella on the street. And it's even not that common to see a lady using umbrella in May.

You don't need umbrella at all, unless you come to China in July and August.

But watch Sichuan opera and go to the Yuelai teahouse at HuaXingZheng Street.

Sent by Song Qiuying | 3:47 AM | 4-19-2008