One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the breakfast buffet at the Evergreen Hotel which has been pretty spectacular. They offer basic American breakfasty things like ham, eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fruit, breads, pastries, but there are also lots of fresh salad and vegetable options which I assume suits more eastern sensibilities. It’s all very good and is a really nice start to the day.
We met for breakfast and then again gathered in the lobby with all the other out of town competition participants to board the bus to be taken to the venue. Things got down to business pretty quickly today and the events started earlier than yesterday because there were no opening ceremonies or demonstrations. Continue reading
Quite a day of martial arts. There was a lot of poetry in motion out on the competition floor all day long and it was fascinating to see the little variations in the forms from the different schools. There were many people from Taiwan, quite a few from Japan, as well as competitors from Italy, Australia, Northern Virginia and Texas.
The day started with several wonderful demonstrations, including a traditional Chinese dragon dance. James Lee from Fairfax demonstrated a BaGua Double Sword form, and Hiromi demonstrated a Hsing-I Saber form. Then all the participants lined up and paraded out on to the competition floor in their respective schools. Continue reading
Friday was here and it was time to get serious and get ready. So after our usual two hour morning practice (which was the first time in three weeks all five of us had a chance to do the form together), Martin, Joe and I went searching for a Laundromat.
Our efforts were rewarded when we found a hole in the wall coin-op, staffed by two of the most surprised Taiwanese I have seen so far. Apparently most patrons of the Evergreen Hotel don’t make it very far down the street. But the two guys, once they got over their shock, were very helpful and we successfully started the wash cycle. Continue reading
We packed quite a bit into today. We started with two hours of early morning T’ai Chi practice at a park near the hotel next to a truly fascinating tree, then a great buffet breakfast at the hotel.
We were in the mood for a little more Buddha so we took a taxi to a temple and got quite a bit more Buddha. Apparently sometimes you can go inside and look out of the golden Buddha, but sometimes the door is open and other times it is closed.
We successfully flagged down another taxi and made our way to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Continue reading
We started Wednesday once again at the Peace Park with the 100-step form as usual. My state of mind (and body) when I finish the 100-step is always different than when I start, and this morning I was particularly grateful for the change. The four of us practiced our 14-step competition form and then our own individual forms. It was another great practice among the trees, frequently met with unabashed stares from the Taiwanese passersby.
After breakfast we packed up and checked out. Hiromi really scored on finding a great hotel. The See You Hotel’s location was perfect and it was inexpensive with an extremely helpful staff.
We had an uneventful bus ride down to Taichung Continue reading
I slept until almost 4am, which I considered to be a success. And the Internet is an insomniac’s best friend, so I got on my tablet and took care of some emails. Technology has made it so easy to stay in touch with the structures you leave behind, even halfway around the world. I was calling US cell phones within five minutes of arriving at my hotel yesterday for two cents per minute on Skype. There are few places where your work can’t find you on the planet. But it’s certainly very nice to be able to keep in touch with loved ones.
At 6am Hiromi, Martin and I went to the Peace Park to enjoy a little T’ai Chi in Taipei. There were a lot fewer people there than on Sunday – a group of 10 doing Ch’i Kung, several people meditating sitting against the trees, and one man circling a tree doing Ba Gua. We warmed up and did the 100 step form together and then Continue reading
The Adventure Begins
The following begins a record by John McCullough with some of the highlights from HTC’s trip to Taiwan to participate in the Second International Cheng Ming Martial Arts Championships in Taichung, Taiwan.
For a 30-hour travel ordeal everything actually went pretty smoothly. I drove up to Reagan National on Saturday morning for a mid-afternoon flight, arrived in LA at 8pm, and had a 6-hour layover before flight to Taipei. That was the easy part. The flight to Taipei takes about 12 hours and you lose 24 hours crossing the dateline so I got in at 6am this (Monday) morning Taipei time. At least I think that’s what happened.
It was fairly easy to get a bus to the main Taipei bus station and the hotel that we are all staying at is only about a 10 minute walk from there. Martin and Hiromi have been here since Saturday evening and I rang their room, met up with them, and then we all went out for breakfast at one of Taipei’s many cafes.
I wanted to do my best not to sleep until Monday evening and as Confucius probably said, with enough oolong tea anything is possible. So the three of us embarked Continue reading