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Monday, September 10th, 2007

Ah, freedom… I can taste it again! I am happily writing this on my way away from Songshan and the hellish Kung Fu training experience endured there.    [read on]

Pain and Suffering in the Mountains of Central China

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

I just finished reading “The Travels of Marco Polo”, which seemed intriguing enough as a choice of literature during my first stint in mainland China.  I was surprised to find that it reads very differently than expected.  Rather than offer a narrative of his experiences, or even personal insight, he merely presented a series of objective elements to log the attributes of various cities visited during his journey through the medieval Far East.  It was interesting enough, but constantly seemed as though something vital was missing.

Reading the afterword by Howard Mittlemark helped to clarify Polo’s potential motives as not simply being limited by medieval thinking and literature, but rather the product of a unique experience chronicling new territory.  He then proceeded to compare the style to modern travel writing by saying that now “no matter where you go, somebody has been there before, and the only thing left to chronicle is the infinite minute variations of the inner world.”

So what is going on in my ‘inner world’ right now?  Would you really like to hear about my current state of depression?  Do you really care, or are you a hoping to justify your comfort zone by thriving on the knowledge of my current tales of misfortune?  Either way, here it comes… currently, I am completely miserable.  For the first time since I set out on this adventure (and for a long time before that) I am far from happy to be where I am.  My positive outlook has taken a vacation and left me alone with a demon called pessimism.    [read on]

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]