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Archive for August, 2007

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Learning Kung Fu in the Mountains of Central China

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

“Welcome to Boot Camp!”

“You are basically paying them to imprison and torture you.”

“The first morning you wake up after training, every inch of your body will be sore.  The second day, it will be worse.  On the third day, you will be in so much pain you want to die.  On the fourth, you will wonder how it got worse.”

I heard all of these quotes from fellow students at the Song Shan Shaolin Temple Xiao Long Kung Fu Training Center, and after four days I can attest to their accuracy.    [read on]

Pingyao’s fifteen-hundred years of history

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

After a hellish first experience with third class travel in a developing nation, I literally squeezed myself by force out of the overcrowded train car and into the dusty streets of Pingyao.  The first impression was of a more polluted but slightly smaller scale version of Beijing.  Clouds of dust kicked up by a constant rush of motor-carts, bicycles and motorcycles.  I heard this was an ancient walled Ming Dynasty City, but here I find myself in near third world urban sprawl?!?

Luckily the impression faded after passing through the city walls.  Inside is a straight up third world city still hanging onto an era long passed.  Old crumbling buildings covered in age-old dust wrapped around the random twists of cobblestone alleyways.  This is the type of place I’ve been waiting for since I started my travels.    [read on]


Sunday, August 19th, 2007

In honor of my blog reaching over 10,000 unique visitors, I’ve decided to make my stats public… enjoy =P


The Yin and Yang of Beijing

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Would I ever want to live in Beijing?  Not even a possible consideration!  It is polluted, grimy, overcrowded and excessively hot.  After seven days here, my throat is sore and nose is stuffed from the smog.  Two showers a day would be barely sufficient to cleanse the filth from your skin, and fighting through the swarms of human traffic can be downright uncivilized at times.

Would I visit again?  Definitely!  Balancing all of the negative aspects is a city full of exotic culture, excitement at every corner, abundance of interesting excursions and endless supply of enticing cuisine.    [read on]

Character Development

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Five months deep into this adventure has taught me more than I could have learned in five years stagnating at home. I do know I am still far from an experienced traveler, but it is safe to say that I’m at least no longer wet behind the ears. It has been almost a month since I left the comforts of Gangneung, and I’ve found less and less time at a computers to update this blog.

So what has been keeping me so busy? Life… the way I want to live it. The weeks I’ve spent in Seoul kept me preoccupied with friends, playing music, taking photos and visiting the must see sights. I also took a twenty-five hour ferry into China and have been exploring Beijing for the last few days. Now I’m sitting in a quiet pavilion hidden in a secluded corner of Temple of Heaven Park and have pulled out my journal for the first time in weeks. [read on]