24.12.2016 Tai Chi Course Day 2

Most important thing to do today is open window 24 on our advent calendar. It is a tantalising roast dinner, which we will not experience this year, but as long as we don’t eat dog tomorrow I will be happy.

Congee for breakfast, still minging, and had delicious oolong tea before starting tai chi. 

We learnt another 2 forms in our first lesson of the day, I am having trouble remembering the moves, repetition is the only way, but it seems so simple when he shows us, and the fact we have a 13 yr old doing it, perfectly, with us highlights it! 

Lunch is good, we fill up as we have a walk into town in the break, it is a 25min walk away, but another 20 mins to the cake and wine shop that everyone keeps talking about, saying how great the cakes are, brownies to die for etc, after a quick walk through town we discover it is closed. Now we have a 45 quick walk back, 15 min break then tai chi part 2.

The countryside is still amazing, although is all changing to make way for a new opera house and entertainment district. Farmers have been moved on to make way for tourists.

Our afternoon lesson is with Master Ping again, and we learn a new standing meditation pose which is agony, this is usual when your back is out of line, so I need to practice more. Guy’s legs are hurting and we are definitely feeling that something is working.

We hobble onto dinner, then relax in our room. Guy has downloaded some Rick Stein Christmas programs so we snuggle up and enjoy that.

Who knows if Santa will know where we are tomorrow?

23.12.2016 Tai Chi Course Day 1

We were awake before the 7.30 alarm, eager to start our day! It is nice having a large bedroom so I take advantage and do some morning yoga before breakfast. Breakfast is congee, which I personally think is disgusting, milky overcooked rice, but when in Rome…..it is still minging. 

View from back window of our room.

We go upstairs for our first lesson with AhWei. He is very patient of us blundering, forgetful westerners. We make hard work of the smooth tai chi moves you see in the park, forgetting what to do with our hands, hips and where our gaze should be. By the end of 2 hours we have got a move (kind of) memorised and we feel relaxed and stretched. It is a calming exercise and I can see that once you can remember the moves it will be flowing and therapeutic exercise. 

The school dog, Hotpot (yep, you guessed it, so named as she was saved from the Hotpot) comes up to check our moves, and the school parrot screeches Ni Hoa, impersonates a screechy door and the vehicle reversing noise every few minutes which makes me chuckle.

The drum is sounded for lunch and we all sit down to simple vegetables, rice, sticky rice cakes, and more vegetable dishes. It is hard not to over eat, Guy doesn’t manage it.

Stuffed, we recline to our chilly room and write up diary,  blog and maybe partake in a small snooze, just to keep warm.

We are rudely awaken by our names being called. We are late for our second lesson! It starts at 3 pm not 3.30pm, ooops! 

Our teacher is Master Ping, and the man is amazing. He tells us about tai chi the basics, the links to chinese culture and gets our ‘forms’ more refined and do some standing meditation, not as easy as yoga, where you are lying on the floor and no one notices if you are having a doze (provided you don’t snore).

Feeling suitably stretched and relaxed we chill and wait for dinner drum to to sound. 

The evening is spent having tea made for us chinese style, and chatting to a Singaporean about Brexit. We learn that Master Ping is doing a Push Pull tai chi course at 8.30 so go and watch.  It is basically blokes pushing and pulling each other to get them off the mat. It seems hard work though and even the 13 yr old kid is holding his ground with Master Ping and is not a pushover. Eventually Master Ping asks Guy is he wants a go and he warms up like a footballer on the side of the pitch. He is eventually thrown into the ring, like a rag doll to the hounds…..in fairness he does really well and manages to stay upright and gives as good as he gets, and both him and his opponent leave the mat sweaty and out of breath.