Beijing, China

19 June 2009

The time in Beijing, end of July and early August, has just been great.

The 24th FISM World Magic Congress (FISM = International Federation of Magic Societies) was held in Beijing from July 26 to 31, 2009 in Beijing, with more than 2500 participants from 66 countries or regions (according to the official Chinese terminology). They were certainly less participants than usual from America and Europe, but a large amount of Asian magicians were present. And they were really enthusiastic and dynamic.

This even gave a slightly different atmosphere to this international meeting. Of course, the good old nice magic chaps (no matter of age!!) from all over the world were there and meeting them again was as nice as ever.

The young Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Singaporean magicians, all those from the South-eastern Asia are happy and excited to be there and to meet “live” the international magicians they have so often seen on videos or in magic magazines. This great interest appears also when seeing the endless lines in front of the lectures’ rooms.

Hundreds of participants stopped us in the convention’s halls or already in front of the Convention’s Center, wanting to speak, to have autographs and pictures with us. Of course, it is very nice and flattering, but at the same time we feel totally under pressure before the gala show where we will appear.

But it went very well, beyond all expectations. Those of you being directly interested by the World Convention and the competitions are of course already well-informed. It was for us a real pleasure to see many young friends taking part to the competition, even when it was more or less successful. And we were delighted, when seeing our buddies’ wild with joy as they were awarded. (See the photo gallery).

The “Supreme Magic” show, following the World Congress, was intended for the Chinese audiences. It went, with a huge success, at the Beijing’s International Exhibitions Center’s theater. The 2000 seats were fully booked at every show. Each one from the 9 magicians was representing another country: DOUBLE FANTASY (Ukraine), I.MA.GI.A. (Italy), JORGOS (Greece), Eun-Gyeol LEE (South Korea), Jeff McBRIDE (U.S.A.), Peter MARVEY (Switzerland), Omar PASHA (France), TOPAS & ROXANE (Germany), YUNKE (Spain). Mike MILLER (U.S.A.), present president of the S.A.M. (Society of American Magicians), is the stage manager, acting as an interface between the Chinese stage management and the artists.

The daily route between the hotel and the theater gave us the opportunity to cross a large part of the modern city, between more or less recent towers, along streets, avenues and expressways. Very often, they were jammed. While Paris (and other occidental metropolises) has more and more cyclists in their streets, Beijing has less and less two-wheeled vehicles and always more cars, inclusive many four-wheel drives.

Those who can afford big-engined German cars or huge Asiatic four-wheel drives have no great worries about carbon dioxide.

Despite many obligations, we have been able to visit quite a few prestigious places in and around the Chinese capital city: the worldwide known Tiananmen Square, one of the largest squares in the world, the Forbidden City (along that square), the former Palace of the Chinese Emperors (which is visited today by millions of tourists, mainly Chinese tourists), the Summer Palace, attracting as well similar crowds, the Great Chinese Wall, a few dozens of kilometers away from Beijing.

We also had a few walks around and in the Olympic Stadium, the famous Bird’s Nest, and in the business areas. There, architects from all over the world give free rein to their creativity for huge and spectacular towers, head offices of numerous Chinese and international companies. But time was short for many other visits. So, we have to come another time to Beijing. We only caught a glimpse of the Hutongs, those old working-class areas with low-roofed grey houses. With the reason of modernizing and improving the living conditions, those districts are quickly destroyed, to many of their inhabitants’ great displeasure. When some of those people enjoy taking advantage of the modern comfort in distant suburbs, others resist. But it is a rearguard action. A small part of those Hutongs is preserved and transformed into a picturesque area for the local happy few and for foreigners. Looking at Louis-Olivier’s pictures in the Photo Gallery, you will see some of his Beijing’s impressions.

Beijing, and the other parts of China we have seen, gives an incredible energy feeling. A national pride and a sense of Chinese greatness are most certainly alive: the ancestral past seems to be a very important background and the future is in construction. All efforts aim at this goal.

The incredibly rich past is magnified, through spectacular monuments and palaces’ restorations. And the Chinese people from all over the country are the first to visit and admire them.

The present is built at top speed.

The future seems assured; the dream for wealth and strength comes true (for some people).

In fact, many people have the feeling to have an easier life than previously. This is enough for many to move forward, to work, work and work always more.

Bye for now.

We still love to travel the world, meeting audiences and people, seeing places and countries. Thank you for visiting our website.