Wudang is an entirely different place on this national holiday...it is blissfully quiet! All the shops are shut, the crowds and usual racket of voices and firecrackers are gone and the roads quiet. I took a much safer bike ride than usual and spent ages wandering around the supermarket instead of the usual battle to get in and out of town without a broken eardrum. Long live Moon Festival
It has been a full week of training, learning the fan, which after years of more difficult forms feels like a lot of fun. I have also been going over the circle-walking and marveling at how distracted I still am from the centre, but then there are so many distracting things to watch here..
Yesterday I observed the youngest chinese kids putting their feet up the wall in a kind of forward handstand at the end of class. This made a line of about fifteen six-year olds making continual little squeaks of effort for about ten minutes, watched over by a serious-faced teenage coach with a stick. It was amazing watching their determination. Despite a tap with the stick being a lot less painful they put their whole effort into staying up on their spindly little arms, until they were literally crying with effort. The result was a wall full of wailing children, tears falling profusely onto the temple floor, all puffing and panting until I found myself almost crying with laughter at the spectacle. Of course 5 minutes later they were running about happy with shouts of excitement and all physical effort and suffering long forgotten. Kids are much stronger than adults at taking the ups and downs of life in this way, although I am not sure western children could manage it.
As I write this my impressions of peace are shattered by the moon festival karaoke and several very drunk coaches singing chinese ballands. Time to retire methinks, just ten days left.
Rachael / Mao Zi Jiao