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Wushu Whiteboy Studying Shaolin, Sanda, and Mantis Kung Fu in China

Kung Fu in China Week Thirty-Four: Beijing Vacation

CHINA | Sunday, 20 April 2014 | Views [1221] | Comments [2]

I took a fifteen-hour train ride to meet up with the lovely Nicole for a week-long vacation together in Beijing. While exploring Beijing we ate snakes, scorpions, and starfish. The scorpions were surprisingly delicious, but the starfish was certainly not. We also met an artist, Shiaochen, who was visiting Beijing for a few days for an art showing. We purchased a painting from him along with a scroll of Chinese calligraphy that he threw in for us.

That Tuesday we took a bus to the Juyong Guan section of the Great Wall and hiked the Wall from there. The most touristy section of the Wall is Badaling, but there were still a lot of tourists at Juyong Guan. I really felt like all of my training was paying off, seeing the difficulty many people were having hiking the wall. The stairs on the Wall are steep at some parts; many of the people only went up about halfway to the apex, and several stopped and sat on the stairs to rest. I suspect that, had I visited the Wall eight months ago, I also would have wanted to stop to rest at times, but at this time I found the walk easy and Nicole and I continued nonstop to the apex. It was amazing to hike such a culturally iconic and ancient part of history.

Before I left for Beijing, my roommate, Rasmus from Denmark, suggested that I make it a point to vist the Summer Palace, so Wednesday we took the subway to Beigongmen station and walked to the Summer Palace from there. I am glad that I took his suggestion, as The Summer Palace was amazing. It was architecturally and naturally beautiful, and the views from some of the taller buildings were exquisite. It's a huge site; we spent about six hours walking the complex and could have spent more time exploring but that much of it was closing at 5:30pm. On the way back, we caught the subway in Beijing during rush hour, which was as fun as it sounds.

Thursday we walked to the Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square. Normally I prefer to do things on my own and not with a tour guide, but The Forbidden City was extremely crowded with tourists, so we hired a guide who knew where to go to circumvent the crowds while still exploring the city. It was definitely worth bringing him along as he was also very knowledgeable of the history and layout of the city. While not as visually impressive as the Summer Palace, it was very impressive nonetheless, and historically more significant.

I have found that the Chinese are as fascinated by martial arts as Westerners are. Like in America, most Chinese care little about martial arts and know little about them outside of entertainment media, and only a small minority practice Kung Fu, but the Chinese find it interesting when they meet a martial artist. In China it's particularly interesting to encounter an American studying Kung Fu in China. While I was visiting a jade shop, one of the employees asked how long I was in China for. When I explained that I have been studying Kung Fu in Shandong province for the last eight months, he dropped any professionalism and asked to take pictures of me doing Kung Fu poses. Being the attention whore that I am, I obliged him.

Eating jellyfish in Beijing

Eating jellyfish in Beijing

Tags: china

Comments

1

I hope you two had a great time! I can't wait to see you again Korric. You've come so far!

  Akamatsu Katsumoto Apr 21, 2014 12:04 AM

2

It was great to be with you again. Thank you for an amazing time in China. I still shudder when I think about our ride in the taxi, and crossing the street over there. You're right it is more like traffic guidelines. I look forward to your continued adventures over there, but not as much as I look forward to seeing you again in August. Be safe and have an awesome time.

  Nicole Apr 21, 2014 5:21 AM

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