So the X Factor is back on our screens in the UK. We will head from boot camp to the finals over the following weeks keeping us occupied during the coming autumnal Saturday evenings. There have been some horrendous auditions but surely nothing worse than you would find in your average karaoke bar? Below is a write-up from our wandering blogger Julie Bye of her karaoke experiences around the world on some of our trips.
Karaoke Queen – Julie Bye
I have to confess, I do like to participate in the occasional karaoke! I do not even have to drink the local beer to give me the courage to get up and perform. It is, in fact, genetic! (My dad runs a local Karaoke in his spare time.) I was chatting to my dad and he asked if I had done any karaoke on my travels. What a stupid question! Of course I have!!!
The first time was in France, back in 1995. I was doing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition and one evening, we stumbled across a bar in a lovely village in the Alps. The problem was most of the songs were in French, so we were singing some absolute classics like “Je perdu mon chien”…Translated means I have lost my dog!! Fortunately there were a couple of Phil Collins’ songs that we were able to perform…Very badly I might hasten to add.
If you want to do karaoke properly, you have to go to Japan. The Japanese LOVE karaoke and there are numerous places in which to go and sing to your heart’s content. I went with 3 friends to a karaoke bar in Nagano and what I did not expect was our very own private karaoke room. These rooms were exceptionally well sound-proofed so no one could hear us and more importantly, we could not hear anyone else’s dulcet tones. There were comfy chairs, a big screen TV and the largest selection of songs I have ever seen. As I do not speak any Japanese, I was very relieved to see lots of songs in English. We stayed for 2 hours and had a wonderful night!
My first Imaginative Traveller trip was to Thailand back in 2004. We were on a bus from Surat Thani to the Kao Sok region and I remember the driver putting on Thai karaoke!!!!! Now that was very funny!!!!! Not many people did sing along on that occasion.
I did our ‘Hola Peru’ trip in the summer of 2006. On our last night out together, our group went for a lovely meal in Lima and then we went to do karaoke!! I was reluctant to give anybody else the microphone as I was enjoying the night so much! What would happen is that the microphone was passed around the bar so no one had to get up to sing!
In 2007, I did the Transmongolian train journey from Beijing to St Petersburg. At the hotel we were staying at in Moscow, there was a large tent outside which housed a bar. Each night there was live music from a local entertainer. One night, we persuaded him to let me sing a song. Me and Lisa sung ‘Like a prayer’ by Madonna. I was actually very nervous on that occasion as very few people in the audience spoke English and we had to read the words from a computer! Everyone gave us a big cheer at the end of the song.
In Mali, I was persuaded to sing in a wonderful bar in Bamako with the band! We sang ‘Stand by Me’ and I really enjoyed performing, even though it was not supposed to be an evening of karaoke!!!
The only continent I have not done karaoke is in Antarctica! I am hoping very much that I will be able to go and entertain the penguins one day, I am sure they will appreciate my singing more than most people do!!!
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