Saturday, July 6, 2019

A trip to China - Day 6 - A Kung Fu School

Day 6 - Shaolin Kung Fu, Temple and Pagoda Forest

The brochure says: Today enjoy the day at leisure or take the opportunity to join an optional full-day Shaolin Kung Fu experience with lunch (not included). Visit the Shaolin Temple, nestled in the forested mountains of Henan, its the birthplace of Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism. The Shaolin Temple embraces many exciting attractions, such as the Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwangdian), the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian), the Pagoda Forest, the Dharma Cave and the Shaolin Temple Martial Art Training Centre.

Then continue your visit to the Pagoda Forest, where hundreds of stone pagodas, memorials to past monks, are tightly grouped together in the forest. You may also have the chance to watch an amazing exciting Shaolin Kung Fu performance at the Martial Arts Hall and may follow the masters there to learn your Kung Fu here (subject to availability).

But before we leave, there’s more about the hotel.

Separate doors for shower and toilet, and on the other side of the passage, the wash basin

Feng Shui seems to have been forgotten when planning this room.

The next morning we discover that other rooms do have bathrooms but they're small.  Some have neither tissues or toilet paper, another has a faulty power socket and cannot recharge the phone, and I'm sure there are other problems.

All in all, it seemed very odd to have the toilet and shower on one side, and the washbasin on the other side of the passage.

We leave the hotel at 8:47 and are looking forward to an up to 2 hours drive.

The kung fu school

The thing you notice most about the kung fu school is it's size and then the number of buses which tells you that it is a popular tourist stop.

And with that size comes long distances between the car park and the venues we need to go to, the first of which is about half a km, and that's just to get to the ticket plaza.

But, it is pleasantly set out and is quite a large number of shops for both souvenirs and food

We pass by some of the students going through their paces

From there it's another long, long walk to the show arena, where we're supposed to see the king fu display and because there is limited seating we have to start lining at the head of the queue to get a seat.


Everyone else has the same idea and we join the throng which then becomes a ride, and true to the Chinese they start finding ways to push in, even using the imaginary friend somewhere ahead in the queue.

The doors open and then it's open slather, with the hoards pushing from behind and sliding up the side to get in first.  We go with the tide, and manage to get in and find a seat though we were separated from three of our group.

It was an interesting show even though not one word of English was spoken, which from our point of view was a disappointment because we had no idea what was going on.


It wasn’t hard to follow

What the performers were doing was relatively self-explanatory, and quite fascinating especially the guy who broke a sword over his head, and the guy who stopped two spears penetrating the neck, both examples of very disciplined men.

Boys gave a demonstration of kung fu moves, and intensity and age increased as this progressed to the end.

Next, we were taken in hand by an instructor in Tai chi or an equivalent, I was not quite sure what it was called, and went through the twelve or maybe more moves that constituted a morning or afternoon exercise session or it could be just for relaxation.  I lasted the first session but it was a little difficult to do with my sore limbs and a bad back.

Not that I could remember any of it now other than hands overhead, hands in front, bent knees and a few gentle kung fu hand moves.

Perhaps when I get home I might seek out someone to show me the moves.

Whilst the others were following their training instructor, I wandered about, finding a large statue


And some smaller statues

Lunch in the Zen Restaurant

After all that exercise it was time to have the lunch purportedly the same food as the king fu masters.
It's in the Zen restaurant, aptly named, and the food when it came, came thick and fast, but some of it wasn't very nice, meat with bones, tofu, a tasteless soup, but some good dishes like the vegetables and noodles with meat, without bones.

The only problem, nothing to drink except a pot of hot water.  No tea, no cold water, and if you wanted a cold drink you had to pay for it.  After paying 550 yuan why should we have to pay more for a drink when we have not had to so far.

But no cold water?  That was just not on, and when we brought this to that attention of the tour guide she just simply ignored us.  We just didn't get anything.

That basically tainted the whole experience.

After lunch, we went for another half kilometre walk to the Shaolin temple.  The walk was exhausting but only in the sense that we knew there would be more inside the temple, and then onto the pagoda forest which was according to the sign yet another half a kilometre.

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