Taiji in Old/New China

Trip Start Mar 01, 2008
Trip End Jan 01, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Taiji House

Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When i get to guilin i find this hostel and now i am in my element. this was the first hostel that i really found that was like the ones in central america. Lots of ppeople, common rooms, computers, shit like that. So i decided that i am going to go to see the dragonback terraces while i am here. One of my friends sent me a picture of these beautiful rice terraces in china when i was in school and i remember wanting so much to go there and see them. but they didnt have a name or location on the picture. when i got the the rice terraces i realized it was the same one!!! Talk about manifesting and sub consciously attracting things! but before i got to the terraces we stopped in this little town outside for a show and to see the culture. of course being the only white person i ended up getting picked to volunteer to be on stage. i had to dance a traditional dance and then pick a bride to be married! It was called the village of the long haired women because their hair was down to the ground. they n ever cut it as long as they lived. Now my little bride had a veil on and we got married, then i had to sing to her on stage in front of 200 chinese people. So i sung the only song i knew. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! After that we danced while her friends took turns slapping me on the ass as we went around in circles! dont ask me all i know is that i got really lucky. because she had a veil on i didnt see her hair. If i would have, i would have had to stay in the village and work the fields for 7 years until i could take her off! After that "experience" i went to the fields and climbed this mountain. It was so cool cause their were little villages up in the mountain just like you would dream about and just like the movies. it was a tourist trap with lines and lines of people moving up this mountain, but it was still cool all the same. So many chinese tourists it wasnt funny. We finally get up to this beautiful landscape and you can see the terraces like steps going down the mountain. You could see the other mountains on the sides with terraces and then the valleys and mountain ranges in the distance. Really one of the better places that i have been to in my life. I would have loved to see it when it rained or when they were covered in snow. they had pictures of all the seasons with different lighting and they were magnificent!. So i even got my picture of me meditating on top the mountain in sort of lotus pose. good memories!. After that i took the bus back to the hostel and just chilled out for a while. I think i stayed there two days and then met a guy who had jsut come from mongolia and lao. he was on a 8-9 month trip and had a job in china later on in the year. He was going to kazakstan which was rather different. not many people travel there. But we decided to take the Li river cruise to yangshou together with two other girls and we headed out the next day. Now the Li river is one of the most famous rivers in southern china. the cruise was amazing even though it was raining. they have these huge limestone peeks/ mountains all along the river and it is absolutely amazing to see them. And since it was raining you could see the mists and clouds above the tops and it made for a magical experience. It was a lot better than the bus, let me tell you. So I finally make it to yangshou! Yangshou was like traveling back in time to a traditional chinese village tinged with the bright lights and new amenities of the 22nd century. It was such a crazy mixture of the old and the new i dont think i can explain it properly. It was situated right on the Li river with the limestone mountains surrounding it on all sides. It really did have that old feel and architecture, but at the same time it had become one of the biggest travel destinations in china. So of course there was the street with all the shops and then the retail outlets with adidas and nike. It is an international traveler's heaven. Their were all kinds of english schools there so they had lots of kids from all over china learning to speak english. I called master fu and got him to pick me up and bring me to the tai chi house. It was off in the woods and right next to this little rice farming village. so it was very quiet and right on the river. it was a huge three story house with a great big pavilion where everyone would practice. i got my own room and come to find out they dont really use western toilets in china! it is just a hole in the ground where you squat and do your business. a little different and definitely not as comfortable, but a cool experience all the same. i went out to explore the town after ward and just marveled at he sight and the people. It was one of the most magical places i have been to in my travels. I decided right then and there that i wanted to live in a place like that. If i wouldn t have had a great chance back in singapore i am pretty sure i would have gotten a job there teaching english for a good while. i really liked it that much and it would have been such an adventure! but ass it was i did have other responsibilities in singapore. So the Taiji school was pretty cool. they had people from all over th world there to learn taiji. we would practice for about 4 hours in the morning, and then about three in the afternoon. Taiji is a difficult things and it takes alot of dedication and patience. It is about moving in flowing moves that are the basis for kung fu. It slows and centers the mind and becomes essentially a moving mediation. They had people who had been there for years studying and living a very peaceful life. I didnt make great friends with everyone, but i was at least friendly with everyone and we got a long and had a good time. they also had some chinese students there that worked and lived there because there dream was to become master one day on their own. So i really got into it but it was again pretty difficult. i was studying original Chen style which is one of the oldest and it is based on 24 fundemental rforms. so you practice these over and over and over and over until you are perfect which is impossible becaue the ultimate has never been reached. So I practiced in the morning and at night and made a little progress. I also made a habit of exploring the town. I rented a little electric scooter and scooted around town all the time. now the only rule in china is dont look back. just make your moove and the people behind you react to it and that is that! crazy!!!! but i managed to live and not lose an arm or a leg so pretty good if you ask me. after practice all the students would get together at a local bar and hang out and play cards or backgammon into the night. pretty cool times and i have to say it was a life that appealed to em. i also met this german guy who had been there about 6 months and he showed me the english schools and i met a bunch of the little Chinese students. We played ping pong all day and would hang out. we ever found a basketball court and had a really good game. just amazing how these kids had never really been out of their town and to meet someone like me was pretty cool for them. Just to hang out and really touch peoples lives! I really think i do like the kids the best. I had really decided that i wanted to come back to this town and live for a while teaching english to all these kids. what an experience that would be! I had a grand old time in yangshou and it has bee one of my favorite places that i have bee through my travels. So getting out was another problem. I decided to book and all night sleeper night bus to guilin. i figured i could sleep but.....not so much. If you 've never noticed chinese people are a little smaller then i am....so when i try to climb into the bed HAHAHAHAH i barely eve fit and the metal rods are smashing my shoulder in, i cant stretch out cause my feet are cramped in to the bunk in front of me. now the best part was that they had two speakers for this whole bus and one of them was 6 inches from my face because i was on the top bunk. CHINESE MUSIC BLARING RIGHT IN MY FUCKIN EAR FRO 14 hours straight. Not to mention the cramps and the fact i coudnt ever stretch a little. it was a coffin made of metal bars that was too small by at least half. So.....for fourteen hours i suffered through this. Then we stop and i think we are there, but no, the road has washed out in front of us so we have to wait until they repair the road so we can drive over it. so 4 hours later we get going again and somewhere along the line i end up at the end. squabble in chinese about prices to the airport, finally give in and pay whatever the fuck it was and i am outta there. Fly to guangzhou and from there back to lovely singer. I have to say it was one whirlwind of a trip! but a fun time all in all!!!!
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