Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Last post (for now...)

Posted by 雯雯 at 8:39 PM
So I have been back from China from a while. Not entirely sure where to start! I've been so busy lately that I haven't blogged at all.

China was really great though. We travelled around for three and a half weeks with only huge backpacks. First we were in Beijing and saw all the standard sights, like the 13 Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the People's Square. After a few days of sightseeing and Chinese-speaking, we took our rather big backpacks and went to Zhengzhou by train. There wasn't much to see in Zhengzhou, but we had a day trip to Luoyang and visited the Longmen Grottoes and the White Horse Temple. Neither place was particularly crowded, but it seems people there don't get much contact with large groups of foreigners. They took many pictures of us with varying degrees of discretion (from the ones who pretend they're texting and take a sneak photo of us to the ones who snuggle up to you and pose without your permission). We soon learnt to pose when people wanted us to!

After our day trip, we came back to Zhengzhou and had a good night's sleep before we were thrown into a minibus and drove to Tagou Shalin Martial Arts school just outside Dengfeng. We stayed and trained there at the old school (which only has about 8000, mostly male, students, as opposed to the new one which had 42,000 or so). Seeing as there are few girls there, and especially few foreign ones, me, Red Cross and Bendy Girl got quite a few stares. Training was hard and very good. We had a very sweet trainer named Wang Qiao, who was about 20. Our days were as follows: at 6.30 we had a morning jog to the nearby Shaolin Temple, where we did morning training and strength exercises until about 7.45. After breakfast, the next  training session was from 9 AM to 11.30. Lunch was long, and the next session wasn't until 14.30, and lasted to 17.00. All in all, we trained about 6 hours every day, which was quite a shock to our bodies the first few days. It was painful, but eventually we got used to it! It was a very good experience, and it would have been nice to stay there even longer than we did. We only stayed for 10 days, and after that, we took the train to Xi'an.

We stayed a few days in Xi'an, and Red Cross and Bendy Girl were very pleased. After a long time in the countryside, with loads of dirt and few shops, it was nice to stay in a hotel close to a shopping street with loads of food and clothes and other things. It was a very nice city indeed! By this time I was very tired of living out of a backpack, as most of the class were, but I still enjoyed shopping  for some new clothes and gifts. In Xi'an, apart from relaxing shopping, and visiting Mount Hua, we also went to see the Terracotta Army. We went on a weekend, during a public holiday, so the place was super cramped and very hot and stuffy. You had to queue up and push your way through loads of people to be able to see anything, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Finally, we took the train back to Beijing and stayed there for a few more days, visiting martial arts shops, tea markets and so on. By the end of it, I was happy that I'd be going home so I wouldn't have to live out of a bag any more, but sad to be leaving China. I got to practise my Chinese every day (in fact, the circumstances forced me to, seeing as I could gesture and get what I want in 30 minutes, or try to use Chinese and get  it in less than five). I would've liked to stay longer, if I didn't have to keep all my things in one backpack  that I travelled around with. All in all, a very good trip!

Nowadays, we are doing our final activities; packing, cleaning the dorms and classrooms, preparing for our graduation ceremony and so on. Always busy! I'm very much looking forward to the summer, to be done with this packing and staying in one place for a while. As the title states, it'll be my last post for now, not sure if I'll restart again soon, but if I do it'll be with a schedule that includes regular blogging! So with that, I'd like to thank whoever is reading for reading, and say goodbye for now!

-HMM
Our Beijing hotel room
The Great Wall

The Ming Tombs

View from The Ming Tombs

The Forbidden City

Gardens in the Summer Palace

Giant Buddha at Longmen Grottoes

Outside the Longmen Grottoes

Tagou Old School

View from Mount Hua

Om nom nom nom

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