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Finally Meeting My New Shifu....
08.07.2010 - 10.07.2010
So the next day Humar and I said our goodbyes, I headed off to this cheaper area i knew of and had contacted the Shifu, he said he would come to collect me in 2 days, He did not speak English, I had some to translate for us so we could communicate via emails.
XuanWu is a Really cool place, is a bit of a tourist place, but there are many cool shops and nice and cheap restaurants to eat it, Not to mention cheap accommodation, Unfortunately the hostel was fully booked when i arrived, So i stayed in a nearby hotel,It was about 16GBP for 1 night, it had hot shower, most comfortable bed ever and TV etc etc, So not a bad price. Anyway i spent a couple of nights here, meeting some people in the local bars etc etc, Just chilling out, Once again, I am not one for taking photos haha, So i do not have much to show really. But if i came back i most likely would like to come to this place again.
Beijing is also a really LOVELY city! I would like to explore it fully in the future to see what sites it has to offer, It really is HUGE! I cannot believe how big it is, Coming from the small little island of Guernsey, it really makes you realise how small we are, Its a buzzing street, with a booming economy, Not to mention lots of traffic! But wow it really shows how fast China is advancing.
Anyway the Shifu had asked for me to wait at 366 Inn (I think its called) and noon, on a certain day, So i was packed and was just chilling at the restaurant there, drinking my tea, I felt like a little kid waiting for the teacher to arrive and also was quite nervous! Hehe, Anyway sooner or later he arrived! He was a kind man and a great guy, was also quite funny, always whistling hehe, we walked through the streets and he bought me a snack and also a drink of some sort, and off we went to the car to meet his driver.
It was about a 1.5hr trip to Daxing (Country District Of Beijing). I felt really bad because i could not speak Chinese, but i tried to impress him with what little Chinese i had haah. Leaving the main center of Beijing to the country was a pleasant surprise, I love the country side more than big city life, and was happy to be around fields and trees again =D. Sooner or later we were to arrive at the Shifus home =D
Shifu Chen! And My New Home!!
Humar and I tried to find a Hotel to stay, Not easy when its early early morning and you cant speak much Chinese ^_^
07.07.2010 - 08.07.2010
Humar and I arrived in Beijing, so late at night it was something like 3-4am when we had arrived, Most hotels which were cheap would have been shut by now,
It had only been my first month of being in China, so my Chinese was not great and my knowledge of Beijing even less. It is such a HUGE city! Anyway we got in a taxi from the airport to go to Ti An Men Square, Which had a cheap hostel nearby, So i thought. Anyway i told the taxi we wanted a cheap hotel for the night, He did not speak English. After 1 hours drive or so from the Aiport we reached our destination, Though the building he took us too looked a bit posh, I didn’t bother to go inside, I just looked through the building and saw the price of about 150 GBP for 1 night, OUCH! I was not going to pay that.
Humar had quite a big luggage bag to haul around, we were walking down a few streets then we came across a taxi driver, I told him we needed a hotel, 1 room cheap, well basically i told him (In Chinese)... “100GBP 1 night, don’t want, 30GBP 1 night ok”, I remember he laughed at first meaning that there would be no hotels for that price around here, i persisted that we wanted somewhere cheaper. I guess he understood what i meant and he was a good guy he spent about 30 mins or so scouting for a Hotel that was open and with a spare room. We eventually got one and we spent the night in the hotel. The next day I was going off to go to XuanWu district in Beijing, while i waited to contact the new shifu I was going to train with and Humar was also going to make her own way.
I found this was not the place for me, The troubles to get to Beijing!
01.07.2010 - 07.07.2010 17 °C
So the flood and the disaster storm was over, and the roads had been "fixed" so that cars could pass through to Taining, the closest village where you could get a bus out of this area. I decided that the school may have not been for me here, My dream of doing Shaolin Training just crumbled like that...
I had expected a much more strict training regime, And not just working on the forms, I was hoping to at least spend time working out the practical use of the movements, But the answers i were given seemed bland, and to me, having my Muay Thai background, Could not see the moves being so effective for me, So i decided that Shaolin Fist was not for me...
Dont get me wrong the Shaolin guys are SOOOO talented in what they do, But the fighting aspect of it, seems to have maybe become lost...So anyway i decided to head to a school in the north to a new teacher to try out his style...
There was one girl at the school called Humar (A British Indian) she was not also enjoying her time at the school, So i told her we could go together to the north as she was going to Beijing anyway, and i could speak a TINY bit of Chinese which may have helped during the journey.
So off we went to Taining, the car ride there, you could see some of the damage from the flood caused, In the picture below...
I have never been one for taking too many pictures, Now that i look back and think, I was quite stupid so from now on 12/11/2010, I will start to take many pics hahah.
Anyway when we arrived in Taining, we could not even imagine some of the damage that was caused to this town from the flood, apparently they got hit pretty hard, as you can see from the pictures below, There was some pretty nasty water left over still from the flood..
One other shock was the bridge! This is the bridge we were rowing under when doing the Dragon Boat Race! It had just disappeared! My Gosh! We were so lucky this did not happen at the time of the event =X...
I am asking myself right now, Why did i take more pictures? I think at the time i felt sorry for the people here, and the LAST thing i wanted to do was take pictures of their misfortune...I seem to remember some trouble about the government trying to cover up the flood damage, because my friend in the north could not retrieve any information.
Anyway, Off we went to the Bus Station and we took a bus to Sanming city, Which was the closest city with a Train station, on there way there, you could see many land slides which happened due to the intense rain... When we arrived at Sanming, i had only planned to stay there 1 night, But the next day , we were told that the trains had been stopped....UGH! for apparently 6 days, So ok, Humar and i chilled in Sanming for 6 days, Just hanging around, looking at the shops and some sites etc etc...
6 days passed, and we went to the station only to find out there were still further delays and they were not sure how long! UGH! so i know it was more expensive but we decided to fly to Beijing, for a cost of about 130 GBP... The airport was quite far away it was not in Sanming city, so we got a in a car, which was going to that way, with 2 other local Chinese inside and they dropped us at the next City. We then took a Taxi to the airport after much trouble, Arrived to the airport and asked for the next flight to Beijing, which was luckily only in about 1.5hrs, time
So off we were! To Beijing!
A big flood hit south China, apparently affected the whole province, We were caught in its wrath =/
14.06.2010 - 21.06.2010 5 °C
So here we were at Rising Dragon Martial Arts school on a normal day, the translator Sue, who was a Chinese girl working at the academy, left this morning to go to Fuzhou a town about 6 hours away by train as she was going to do an exam involved with English Speaking. She left at about 8:30am, 2 hours later, wind picked up and it started to rain heavily.
It was raining for days before hand, but today the rain was REALLY bad, then it seemed all hell broke loose hehe, We heard a loud bang (We were training at the time indoors so did not think nothiing of it). Here is what the beautiful area looked like before anything had happened.
Now, take note, this happened only maybe a few days after the Dragon Boat race, So we were lucky we were not caught in the storm while doing the race hahaha. Anyway, after training i remember going back to my room, and i looked over the balcony to see someone taking pictures of the hills, i went to take a closer look and was SHOCKED!!! The small stream that was once there, turned into a ferocious flowing river! As you can see in the pictures below, there was quite a change =X
As you can see, there was quite a difference haha, It was quite a shock, it was so windy also at the time, There were mudslides, trees being washed away down the river, small buildings (rubble from them), It was a disaster.
Quite a few people were in panic, I just remained calm i did not think it would be such a big deal...
We were not allowed to leave the school at this time for our own safety as you can see the road was even over-run with water, So it was simple to see it was not safe to leave. The electricity supply was also cut out, and also there was no running water (Which was a bit of a problem as we needed water to flush toilets haha).
I remember we were eating dinner and some guard rushed to our gates shouting something in Chinese, it was translated as "The Dam is going to burst", many people panicked, we were told to collect our belongs and move to the highest building in the school grounds. We had collected some type of mats to lie on and we all camped up in one room for the night. A few people were getting too worried about thinking how they would get food etc etc, and how long they would get stuck there for. Reggie being Reggie was just living it one step at a time haha =D.
The next day we were told that the Dam was checked and it is safe, and will not burst, but the river was still high and we could not leave the school, we were running low on food, the village nearby managed to bring us some vegetables and rice to keep us going. A few days later the river got alot smaller, though it was not like it was before and the road began to open up, There were numerous army trucks coming along the road to bring supplies, the place was in a mess (I dont know how they got up the road,because at some parts the road was destroyed). Here is what the damage looked like after the river had gotten smaller.
We took a walk to Xinqiao Village to get some snacks as we were told we were allowed to go, but to be careful, walking along the way we could see why there was no power, from what we saw, at least 20-30 power cable poles were destroyed. We even saw a body that was put in this abandoned house (Waiting to get collected?) Also some people carried on a stretcher with blood on their face, My camera had no battery at the time, and of course i would have not taken pictures of such sites. The nearby village was over run with Mud and it was hard o walk, many shops had their stocks destroyed as water was apparently knee deep in the village. It was a disaster for the local people, I will try to get my friend to send me some pics of the village so you can see how it looked.
Scott (The owner of the school) being a good guy got a Petrol powered generator for the school so people could have power at night to charge their items etc etc, maybe he wanted to watch the football also haha.
That was pretty much the events of the disaster crisis, we were without running water for about 1 week and no electricity also, I remember people were collecting the rain water to use for shower water and also for them to boil their kettles at night when we had the generator hehe, Also not to mention to flush the smelly toilets haha.
Phhew what a big one!
Taking part in Chinese Tradition! Dragon Boat Race!
12.06.2010 - 12.06.2010 24 °C
The day after i arrived at the Rising Dragon School, i was told that there was going to be a Dragon Boat race, and i could enter in it with them if i wanted, I was pleased to here this! I could not say no =D, So of course i took up the offer!
The other guys has been practicing it for a few weeks to get used to the rhythm of the strokes and paddling, and to know what to expect, But i was here late, So i had no chance for practice,
Anyway once we arrived to Taining town, there were SOOOO many people! I did not expect it to be like this! There were about 8 other teams also, I saw the Chinese teams go, and DAMN! Could they get some speed in the boats! It was quite a funny site also, because half of them were smoking at the same time while they were rowing the boat haha.
Each boat took about 12 people or so, maybe more, and we had to go up and down a 1km strip of water which was a river flowing through the city, We had to do the run 2 times, it was a really tiring event! But i was happy to have been able to take part in it =D, Defiantly a memory for a lifetime =D
The Martial arts school did not do GREAT, but we were not last, so at least thats a good thing =D
The beginning, of searching for the dream, But not what was expected....
01.06.2010 - 01.07.2010 25 °C
So i think i need to try and catch up on my blog,
Before i forget...EVERYTHING!
So i have now arrived at Rising Dragon Martial arts school, After the night in the hotel with the warm shower, I then got a Taxi to this school =D,
Once i arrived at the school, It was a great feeling, I was finally in China! where i wanted to be ever since i was small, I was shown around the the school it was really well kitted out, It was huge , with various training areas, I didnt take any pictures while i was there only a few when the flood happend which i will explain later =D.
You could choose between 3 different "types of martial arts", Be it Shaolin Class, White Crane Yong Chun, or Internal Martial arts, I choose the Shaolin Class, because i wanted the hardest workout =P. There were about 20 foriegners training there all in all, But only 3 (4 including me) were in the Shaolin class, due to how tough it was hehe.
Our daily work out routine would be as so,
Morning Warm Up And Stretches 5:45-6:15am
Morning Training 6:15am-7:30am (Starting with a run to warm up)
Mid Morning Training 9am-11:30am (Starting with a run to warm up)
Lunch: 12 (Noon)
Afternoon Training 3pm - 5:30pm
Then all the same thing tomorrow, we did this everyday, and had Sunday as a day of rest........PHEW!
I remember my first few days here, were the BIGGEST PAIN! of my life, I could not walk properly for at least one week, I was relatively fit before coming here, But DAMN! When i came here, It really made me open my eyes to how hard the Chinese must have trained during the years.
The training was really painful, hopping up and down on one leg up 70 steps, then going back up on the other leg, if your foot touched the ground you had to then do it again, Wheelbarrow crawl up the stairs, then crawl back down them alone, Bunny hop jumps around the basketball course etc etc, It just went on and on hehe, It was like Hell, but in a good way haha =D...
The food was above average also at the School, I remember the first time i ate "Mantou" (Chinese steam bread) I had always seen it in the movies and SOOOO wanted to try it, I was a bit dissapointed with the taste when i first had it wuwuw, it HAD to be eaten with jam or honey...But then later as i travelled to other areas of China, I came across MUCH better Mantou, So it was just that the bread was bad at that school hehe, But other than that the food was great at the school.
Time To Go To The Rising Dragon School Of Martial Arts!
11.06.2010 - 30.06.2010 25 °C
Such an amazing place!, Though i do with i prepared my Chinese, BEFORE arriving. The city of Shanghai is truly booming! I did not spend no time looking around, but it seemed like such a well developed city, i was really amazed with Chinas huge cities!
Or maybe its just because i am from small small Guernsey...We are easily impressed haha =D.
Anyway i had arrived at Shanghai bus station, I was then trying to book a ticket for "Taining", i could not find many that spoke English at the time, So i rushed around and some friendly person helped me out =D, They went to the ticket office, got my one way for Taining, then showed me where to wait for the bus. The bus trip its self was not bad, but because i could not speak any Chinese i did not know how long the journey was =D.
I was expecting maybe 6 hours, but it ended up being 12 hours, which is not so bad, But when you only had a 6 hour journey in mind, then each hour passes after that point, you just keeping to yourself "when will this journey end?!"... I remember about 8 hours into the trip, i finally found out it was a 12 hour journey.
When arriving in Taining, it was 4am in the morning, and there was not much open, for someone that didnt speak Chinese, it was not easy to find somewhere to stay. I remember one guy even took my up to Xinqao village (where the Martial arts school is), Because i told him i did "Wushu". After the 30 minute journey we get there, its pitch black nothing was open, i felt so stressed, i just wanted a hotel. So i got out of the taxi and told the driver, "Wo Yao" which means "I want" and lay down on the floor to mean sleep.
The Taxi driver then said "Oh sorry", drove me back to Taining, then found me some little hotel to stay for the night, which was quite well equipped, for 70 RMB for the night, felt SO GOOD to have a shower!
The next day was the introduction to the martial arts school!!
Time to leave! Onwards to China!
09.06.2010 - 10.06.2010
Right so its time to finally leave New Zealand! Because i recently bought that longboard i had to find a way to be able to take it with me, Also i had picked up some extra Things like boxing gloves etc, So my 45 Litre bag was no longer going to cut it, So i had to decide to invest in a 70 Litre bag to carry my extra things, I remember the day i recieved my 3 Month China Visa, I booked the tickets right away! And had them booked to leave the next day! I remember packing my Bag, and because i had this huge 17” Laptop i was thinking no way am i going to be able to take this, My flight was the next day so i was in a bit of trouble.... So i had to sell it,
No one in the hostel needed a laptop, let alone one so big, So i had to sell it at a pawn shop, I remember the first one i went to, They said they can only give 300 NZ $, I thought this was no good, Though i didnt pay LOADS for it , as i bought it of Tom also, Anyway i went to a “Bigger Pawn Shop”, They were interested in it, But as they checked online the laptop was selling BRAND NEW for 450$ NZ , Waaah! Because Dell had an offer, How ANNOYING!, The other shop didnt look quite so good, So i took the risk to go back there and try my luck, Surprise surprise i was right, They didnt bother to check online for the laptop and i manged to get 300$ NZ for it! Not bad haha , i done over a pawn shop =P NICE...Heheh, Also i had some other training equipment, Which i didnt want to bring (Wish i had now though)...So i decided to send that home, And also bought a gift for the Family, as i was not going to send anything back without giivng them something also =D, So all of that was done and i still had 3 hours yet before i had to leave for the airport, Though i was so worried because about my Longboard i am not sure if they would let me strap it to my bag,
Upon arrival in the airport, I see my worries were not needed because it was not a problem to bring it, And there i was sitting in the plane waiting to leave to Auckland, then a connection flight to Shanghai! I got the ticket for around 900$ NZ which is not so bad to say how far away i was....Anyway The Plane was Super nice, food was great, I didnt sleep so well on the plane but thats normal...Still i had many onboard movies to watch and i watched some Chinese ones of course hehee....Anyway when i was to awake i would be in China airpspace...So excited!! Hehhee, I also had my mind set on quitting smoking ciggarettes when i was in China, So sure enough.... My last smoke was on the day of my flight at about 6pm, I was to fly at 8pm....
Heheh so as i was working at TelstraClear,I made a few new friends, and good ones with Fraser, He was going away for the weekend and invited me along...I couldnt refuse....
14.05.2010 - 17.05.2010
Right so after being here so long in CHC,
It was only right to have at least nice quiet weekend away, Daaaamn i had been working so much and done nothing...It was depressing, To have been in such a beautiful country and not have experienced it,
So on Friday at work Fraser asked if i wanted to join him after work to go to Kaikora, As a spur of the moment thing sure i accepted as i was not sure how much longer i would be in New Zealand, So after work i rushed home to get my things and then off we went to Kaikora,
It was about a 3hr drive, once we got there we stayed at the Albatross Hostel if i remember correctly, It was a nice place, the 3 of us , Fraser, Me and a girl that he knew all were in the same room, the dorms were wicked, We didnt do much the first night as we arrived at 9pm , So we went to the bar to grab a snack and a couple beers,
The next day Fraser and i went to go Kayaking in the Sea, with a tour to go see some of the Seal colonys! Wow! Such a nice feeling! I felt free again in Kaikora, Back to the travel mode, I think we spent about 4 hours on the Kayak which set us back about 90$, But they were proper kitted out, 2 man Sea Kayak with Rudders,
I like captain Fraser do the steering, It was so nice to be out on the water, It was a beautiful day and the sea was calm, We Got to see so many Seals, Up so close it was a nice experience, and definatly nice to take mind off things, There were 2 Kayak groups i remember the others where a bit further ahead, and they got to see a group of Dolphins!! Soooo lucky!!!! Fraser and i tried to catch up to them but haahaha no chance! After Kayaking i took my long board out to find a few hills to try...
I remember finding one smooth hill, My trucks were really loose, I didnt think of it at the time, I went about 3/4 of the way up the hill, It was pretty steep mind you...But i didnt expect to go so fast....Hahah i never been so genuinly scared in my life! Really hahah, I remember begining to roll and trying to Carve i was thinking Uh Oh!!!!! I managed to do it with out falling so decided to go again (Bad move)...I dont know why but this time i picked up more speed, at bottom of hil was a road also and i could see a car in distant, I must have been going at least 30mph hahah, i had to ride onto a grass patch and jump for my life and roll, That left a nasty cut haha =D, But all is fun and games =D,
Kaikora really though is a beautiful place, This is what New Zealand is all about, Not Christchurch...I felt so at peace at here it was a nice change...The village was quiet, there was so many nice sights around in terms of scenary , On the sunday (the day we had to leave) We went and explored around a bit more,
I will post some pics so you can see how beautiful it is here,
Another updated done! =P
Hope all is well guys!