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Crazy day today. We went to pratice in the morning. Which I am now able to do with the A-Team. No, not Mr. T and the rest of the gang, but the cool A Team (I already regret that joke. I’m sorry). I am actually really happy that James and Nadir and Suzanne are here now. Not that I wasnt getting hooked up nicely, but they have friends in higher places and are getting a nicer treatment than a guy off the street. Last week I was asking a few people if I could video the class and was getting ‘prolly not’ as a reply. But James asked for me and we got a “No problem!” and two thumbs up form Coach Cui. Turns out that James is a EE — in addition to the whole wushu thing, nice guy to boot. At first I was a little depressed because I felt like my first two weeks were a waste. That I had thrown away alot of my time and effort because I was being cramed in with Coach Lu and his boys. The guy is a cool guy, crazy, but I think he is cool. But he didn’t really care about me and my goofy ‘merican wushu. I see a few peeps waltz in from cali and get hooked up. Part of it is their ability to speak chinese (nadir can’t, but with suzanne’s help he communicates just fine). This self pity/hostility goes on for that first night, but then I realize that I did get lot form my training. If my chinese was better I would have been hooked up more — so what if I could
have gotten a little more out of the deal. It’s been a good trip — plus with the help of James I am gonna train with Liu Qing Hua for the next two days. Her, and another ex-team member (yi chang, I think) really put effort into smacking us into line. I really appreciate that. It would be so much easier for them to say “faster, higher, more power” and take care of their full time students.

Oh, today we went to the great wall. Quite an adventure. First, we didn’t knwo how to get there. Our expert on beijing, Morgan, had never been. Tucker had but it hadnt been for a while. We had tried to get a guy form a cab company but he wouldnt answer the phone. So we haild a cab, hop in and say “we wanna go to the great wall of china!” like a bunch of american dorks. He basically says “hell no! That’s way too far!”. We get out. Tucker gives a chinese friend of his a call and she says that we will have to find a 1.60 cab and work out a deal (we almost alwasy take the cheap — go-cart like 1.20 cabs). So we hail the next cap, a nice and yellow 1.60 one (almost all the cabs here are red). He says ‘Nope.’ At this point we were thinking we werent gonna be making it today. And the weather was so nice! But then, sitting like a shining red gift from God — at the intersection in front of the Shi Cha Hai was a 1.20 cab — morgan cracks open the door and see’s if he is game. He is! great fun.

So off to Badaling in a rickety 1.20 cab, who’s driver’s breath reeks of some sort of nasty garlic sausage.

After an hour or so and one false stop we got there. The one false stop was pretty interesting. Wrong part of the wall. so we backed up the on ramp and went back on the free way. Only in china.

Was was fun. I will put the pictures up when I get back into the states. Lots of wandering around. I made Tucker take my picture doign a Au Batido in all sorts of crazy places. In some places it is steep. Insane. We even made a unofficial detour off the regular tour. We snuck past one of the pay bathrooms and ran otu onto the hills. A frantic chinese lady yelling HELLO!!! as mean as she could. We ignored her and kept walking — a skill I have learned works well with the people trying to sell you stuff. At this point we decieded that if we were persued by and official types we would only speak english. Paly the dumb american card I guess. But it was uneventful, and we were able to walk around and get back on the wall. We didn’t make it to the cable car to the bottom before it closed — so we wound up taking a strange rollercoaster type thing. Basically like a little cars on a track that took you to the bottom of the hill. Kinda took up to the wrong part of the bottom of the hill, but we got to see the bears. Yep. Black bears in concreate pits. Eating poradge. It was like a chinese zoo type thing that was being built. For some reason they decided that they needed to hurry up and get the bears there. Some of those bears were crazy fat — and just laying there slurping on their poradge. It was very sureal. I guess there must have been some debate on what to feed these bears at the chinese zoo society when someone whipped out a copy of goldie locks and the three bears. The result was a few concreate pits with odd jungle gym type contraptions (for the skinny bears to climb on) and a bunch of very large fat bears eathing poradge out of concrete troths.

Eventually we found out cabbie who was waiting for us — meter running and took us home with out incident. Pretty fun adventure.