Tiger Leaping Trent

Trip Start Feb 24, 2006
1
39
Trip End Dec 31, 2007


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

As Enon stayed with her family, I went off to Zhouzhang to meet Chris, who would fly in that night.  After the usual problems involved in traveling in China, Chris and I finally met and just relaxed.  The next day we got up early to take the bus out to Dengfeng, the nearest "big" city to teh famed Shaolin temple, home of martial arts in China and quite possibly the world.  After the usual problems involved in traveling in China :) we eventually arrived at the temple about one hour late due to our "direct" bus stopping every 5 minutes, taking the local route (for more unlogged passengers - more pocketed money), and stopping at a restaurant 10 minutes from the temple in a semi-tourist scam they love to play over here!  It was pretty funny to watch Chris on the bus ride, as a bus ride in China is a unique experience of horn honking and other hilarities, such as washing the windows...while driving, etc. 

As we were late, we found out Enon had decided to go inside about 15 minutes earlier and we tried to catch up to her, but the rains made it a bit difficult, though we eventually found our wet friend!  So we strolled the grounds, checked out the temple and were generally unimpressed, as with many things in China, it had been recently refurbished for tourists and thus, its authenticity suffered.  They did have a monk-in-training performance that was pretty interesting though.  Later, we headed into Dengfeng to find a place to stay and eat...that night we enjoyed the littel town, some Chinese street food and playing cards at a coffee shop.  We had also set up two days of training at a local Wushu (Shaolin kungfu) school where we would receice private lessons from a Wushu master!

The next morning, we headed off for our training.  I was a bit disappointed not to get some kungfu style unifrom to strain in, but we did get these Converse-style training shoes for a whopping $2.50 - LOL, what are they in the States, $50?!!  We learned heaps of katas, training poses and plenty of kicks, which I sucked at due to limited flexibility.  The katas are the foundation of the arts, but Chris and I were disappointed to not learn a few more "useful" things, but the trainer said he would show us some sanda, self-defense, techniques the following day!  So, we again enjoyed the little city, strolling through its park, having bumper car wars with their own ball gun launchers mounted...until I popped Enon square in the eye!!  (Sorry E!)  We then had a fantastic dinner of hotpot, which, being his first official Chinese hotpot, Chris thoroughly enjoyed!  We crashed, tired from the training, before one more day of training and going our separate ways.

In our last day, we finally learned some "useful" kungfu and Chris and I practiced throwing each other all over the place with judo-like defense moves!  WE rented a car and driver (cheap - like $8 per person) to drive us back to Zhouzhang and put Chris on his overnight train to Chengdu.  Enon and I had another adventure as we missed our train to Hong Kong, had to get a flight the next day, followed by sleeping inthe airport that night and a 3 hour flight to Taipei...where I had a 6 hour delay (on the plane), a 12 hour flight to LA, a flight to Vegas, another 3 hour delay and finally the 2.5 hour flight into Denver, where I sat next to a 7 year old who was on his first flight (we became good friends!) - WHEW!

In summary, I had another amazing time in China and saw so many great places.  I was glad to be able to see some of those places with good friends...traveling alone has its own rewards and is fun (I encourage everyone to do so as you will learn more about yourself than you thought possible), but traveling with friends is even better!
 
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