On Wednesday and Thursday I spent most of the time focusing on my work, recovery and a few errands. But there are one or two things worth sharing with all of you. Nothing mind-blowing, but just stuff I feel like writing about.
Well, nothing mind-blowing except almost getting in an alteration with a professional wushu athlete while he has a sword in his hands. But more on that (including photos) later …
On Wednesday, while I spent the day working at Mr. Pancake House (I didn’t have any pancakes, mind you) and taking advantage of their warmth (it’s cold in China, yo!) and wifi, I got to meet up with a wushu and taiji practitioner from Italy named Guido. (With a name like Guido, where else would he be from?) 🙂
He came by to meet for a bit and we had a really nice conversation about various aspects of wushu. I showed him footage from the King of Kings competition as well as the previous day’s practices with the Shanghai Wushu Team.
He was just in town for a month or so to visit and see what was going on in China, but if he’s still in Italy in a year or two (when I finally get over there) I will be sure to pay him a visit. If I remember correctly, he is in Florence. Although, my knowledge and memory of Italian cities is a little muddled, so I might have that wrong.
So, Wednesday was mainly about working on my projects (my many, many projects) and Thursday ended up being about running errands. One of the first errands was to get some business cards made. Since I’m more-or-less doing a work-related trip I wanted to have something to leave with people I met.
But since I was making the cards, and they are fairly cheap to make in China, I also made a set of wushuzilla business cards. You can take a look and tell me what you think.
I thought about adding other information, but to be honest, aside from an e-mail address and the URL of my website, what else do people need to find me? I like to keep things simple, you know? What do you think of it? I probably could have included the logo, huh? Ah well .. next time.
The other thing I did was work with my dad to figure out the best travel options for my trip to London (and beyond). You see, my ticket is a stand-by one, so if the loads on the flights are heavy there is a chance I can get bumped. Since my father used to work for the airlines some of his benefits carry over to his kids (me!). I don’t get the ticket for free or anything, but I do get it for a bit cheaper than the full fare (and I also have a nice chance to sit up front in business or first class. Nice!).
But the downside is that you get on the plane only if all the full-fare passengers are able to sit down first. That means you have to really keep an eye on the loads before the flight leaves.
Unfortunately since the flights out of Shanghai Pudong airport were rather full, we decided it would be better for me to head up to Beijing and fly out from there instead. (The loads were much better, for some reason.) So I spent some time getting a new train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing.
Actually, I had a ticket already. But it was for the morning of the 23rd (Sunday) and since I was no longer going to the MMA fight in Nanjing with Ted Fu on the evening of the 22nd, I didn’t have to worry about waiting until the next morning to leave. The overnight train killed two birds with one stone:
First, I didn’t have to figure out where to sleep on the night of the 22nd. I would have had to get a hotel or something since my friend, Lisa, was getting back from her business trip that day and I couldn’t stay there anymore.
Second, the cost of the ticket was the same as the daytime ticket on the 23rd, but I would end up saving money since I didn’t have to pay for the hotel. So, overall it was both cheaper AND it gave me a place to sleep. Double score!
It would also get me in to Beijing on the morning of the 23rd, which gave me a whole day to wander around and do a bit of pre-flight souvenir shopping. San Li Tun Ya Xiu, here I come!
I also spent some time finding a dry cleaners to take my sport jacket and button up shirt to. Why? Because that is also one of the requirements for flying stand-by. Since I’m sort of “representing” the airline, I have to dress nicely. I don’t mind this so much, actually, but it is one more thing to take care of before leaving China.
Visiting Athletes and Wang Peng Cheng’s Nandao
On Thursday night I had one last errand to run before the day was over. It turned out I had forgotten to give Yang Yu Hong the men’s changquan division videos from the King of Kings event, so I told him I would come down to their school one more time to give it to him and to say goodbye.
I arrived in the area just after dinner. I hadn’t eaten yet so I grabbed a bit at the Muslim restaurant near the school and, coincidentally, Yang Yu Hong and his girlfriend were right outside when I came out to find them. She was getting some chicken at the small stand on the corner (great chicken, btw) and after she said goodbye (she lives in the women’s dorms) Yang Yu Hong and I went back to his room so I could transfer the files off my thumb drive to his computer.
We watched a bit of the footage but then went next door to Wang Bao’s room to see what he was up to. It turned out he was in the process of wrapping grips on his nandao’s. Well, talk about a golden opportunity! I filmed his grip wrapping technique to see how he did it. (It turns out he uses old towels, double stick tape and a bit of embellishment on the ring.) I’ll post up the video later one so you all can check that out.
While we were there he offered one of the nandao to me.
“What? No. I can’t take your nandao. You need that.” I tried to refuse him.
“Don’t worry about it. Here.” he said, thrusting it towards me.
“Just take it” said Yang Yu Hong, not really helping at all.
In the end I took the nandao, although I wasn’t really sure how I would transport it with me through the next 3 countries of my trip. If the subway security people were any indication, taking a sword with you is not really the easiest thing to do.
I said goodbye to both of them and made my way back to the main part of Shanghai. It was sad to say goodbye, but I was confident that I would see them in the not too far away future. In any case, the next day I had some more wushu plans so my time in Shanghai wasn’t quite over yet.
When Friday finally rolled around I was pretty much set for my trip and was ready to head up to Fudan University to participate in Wei Jian’s wushu class. But, of course, that will be an entry for next time.