Русская версия поста здесь (a Russian version of this post is here): http://krutovig.com/half-year-in-xian-01-hotel-and-job-ru/
I tell a little about new blog’s format. I tried to keep my personal blog on different platforms, and finally I’ve decided that these posts should be on my web-site. So, on the page “life” I will write about me (about travelling in general). On the page “work” I’ll save old posts about games and add new ones. I’ll try (I don’t even know how much time it takes) to keep the blog in two languages, as this post.
That was happened in 2014: I lived in China for 6 monthes. It was an absolutly sudden occurence in my life. Lot of things happened during that period in my life: messing up a long relationship, an occupation changing. Therefore, when my life said me: “do you want to go to China for a musician job?”, I answered: “why not?”. I can’t put everything about that amazing country to a one post, so I’ll create a set of them.
By the way, I haven’t earned even a cent on music before. That was only my hobby. Particularly I always played and wrote another music. That music doesn’t look like music you need to play on contracts.
How did it happen? My girlfriend (she is a singer) has a contract in South Korea in 2012. That was a reason why agents sometimes propose some job for her. In 2013 she wanted to go to China with a band but we hadn’t any good contract. And that time we’ve got a proposition to go to the hotel in Xian as a duo.
At that moment I’ve already quit my offline business and basically worked as a freelancer. I thought about a game development some time, tried to do some projects, but I had no time to make full games. Therefore I’ve decided that the Universe gives me a chance. In China I would have a lot of time to switch me to mode “full-time indie” (oh, I was mistaken).
Well. We’ve learned a minimum necessary repertory, that gave us a possibility to play 4 sets (1 set = 45 minutes) than packed our stuff and flown to China.
The flight was very tiresome. 2,5 hours from Kharkov to Vienna. Connect for 2 hours. 9,5 hours from Vienna to Beijing. Connect for 4 hours. 2 hours from Beijing to Xian. For person who has never flown before that was too much hard. I’m tall and my knees set against the next sits. I can’t sleep in planes even I am tired. When a plane goes down for even a couple meters I wake up immediatly.
We’ve settled to the hotel, ate and slept around 12 hours.
BTW the hotel is very good. The international chain called Crowne Plaza, 5 stars. The hotel occupies the floors from 25 to 52 of the skyscraper Shaanxi Xinxi Tower. That tower is the tallest building in the city. And the bar where we worked are the highest situated bar in Xian. It is on 51th and 52th floor of the building. The barbeque area on the roof includes.
This is the hotel from outside. There are lots of lights at night (as everything in China though).
According to our contract we lived in the hotel and feeded there. We would even stay there the whole time without going outside. The 30th floor was for living, the 52th floor was for working, the 1st floor was for eating. But be sure, we went out many times.
This is the view from our room’s window. It’s some usual weather for Xian (and for every China city though). You can see dirty lines on the right side of the glass. For 6 monthes I saw only I time how some workers washed the building from outside. And it wasn’t smart. It takes only two days to dirty it again by smog and rain.
Our room looked like this. The standart double. We was dissapointed a little that the hotel hasn’t panoramic windows. At the time when it was builded nobody had such good ideas.
The room was very comfortable. The good bed that was made from two beds for one and very wide. I liked the work table; I made the games on that table during those 6 monthes. There was a huge bathroom. The staff treated us as regular guests. Therefore we’ve got a full 5 stars service. A staff in China every time tries to make everything you want. Do you need a corkscrew at 4 am? Ok, you’ll get it. Where can I find a cheap market? Oh, wait a minute, I call my mom and ask her for you. One kosher guy who we’ve met in the hotel even came to an arrangment that he can cook his special food straight in his room on some electrical stove which he’s brung from Israel. The staff knows English bad. When they can’t understand what you say, some panic attack happens. Because they must oblige you but don’t know how! Even the chief of Food and beverage department (my big boss) knows English worse than me.
But Crowne Plaza Hotel is the one of most English-friendly hotels in Xian. That’s the reason why so many foreigners stay here. And it’s cheap. The room such one we lived costs around $100 for guests.
We worked at the lounge bar on the 52th floor. The bar has an image of an expensive place. I don’t know why: the prices are as in any regular good bar in Xian. If you want to get to the bar you have to pass through the hotel’s hall and come up using the glass panoramic elevator (those 2 elevators you can see by both sides on the picture of the hotel) to the last floor. The visitors basically are tourists-foreigners and rich Chinese.
Our stage looks like this. We spent here almost every night.
There were 3 else musicians in the bar. 2 of them worked on the roof on the barbeque area. We didn’t almost see them. One worked with us – piano player. Here he is, at the right:
We changed. Sometimes we played together, sometimes we played by turns. The main rule was: no pauses in perfomance. That guy doesn’t totally know English. First time it was awful. But bosses know better what we have to do :-)
More pictures of the stage. And view at the noon.
That was very good to work there. Nobody watch you; you can play what you want because Chinese don’t know western music at all. And the main idea was: we were here for foreigners. Because retirees from USA or EU always lived here within big groups, we played with fun an old rock: Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Deep Purple etc. It works, they liked us :-) Sometimes we even played Jewish and Ukrainian songs for guys from those countries we’ve met there. I’ll tell about them in another post.
Our work started at 8 pm and ended around midnight. At the day we walked in the city or I maked games. It was a little hard to do something else but perfomances. I didn’t have enough time for that.
Chinese didn’t react our playing at all. Sometimes they wanted to take a picture with Nastya and that’s all. It’s a special fetish for Chinese: an europian girl exterior. Some guys ordered western songs, pop. Everybody knows a few good songs like Hotel California for example. I suppose that it is because some local pop-stars covered them. One very rich guy, banker, every time ordered Russian songs. You know, Moscow nights, Three white horses, Katyusha.
I was sceptic with the idea to work for somewho. I have had a business during 8 years and forgot how it can be. But that job was fun, easy and natural. That was the very interesting period in my career, maybe even the best. BTW in China I’ve made my first serious game. And after selling that game I’ve became a full-time indie.
If anybody has any questions, just shoot me in comments.