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I’m never good at goodbyes. Especially when I’m the one leaving.
This has been an exceptional month, despite the obstacles I faced during my early days here. I’m not going to say that it has been a bed or roses. There were ups and downs, but thankfully there were many more ups then there were downs.
There was initially an epic night planned for my going away. It started out as a few people going to a KTV, which then suddenly became my going away party, to which I didn’t have any say in.
Yesterday, we set off to go bungee jumping, but it seems that out penchant for unexpected adventures has led us astray yet again! And this time we have more victims.
First, none of us knew of the plans at all. We pretty set off at half past 10 in the morning. Everything was pretty much going according to plan. We were going to Qinglong Gorge, doing our jumps and coming back by the end of the day.
My fourth week has passed, the adventure is almost over. I now have only a few days left at the school.
This week has brought forth yet more new arrivals. One of which was a fellow contact staffer! It was great having someone to talk and share tricks with.
I have learnt so much, and gotten much stronger during this time. The training wasn’t as hard as I expected, but it’s still taxing.
Last night we decided to check out Beijing Jugglers. A social practice session, not much unlike Juggle Jam back home. Oh how I miss Juggle Jam.
The information that I got was that Beijing Jugglers happens on Wednesday evening at Sanlitun, the “foreign quarters” of Beijing. What I didn’t get was that if the organisers don’t know if anyone is coming, the gathering doesn’t happen.
So our merry band of circus folk descended upon Sanlitun and found out that the gathering wasn’t on that night.
Yesterday a few of us decided (pretty much at the last minute) to head down to FUN Party, the opening ceremony for the 2009 Beijing Art Festival, at the 798 Art Zone.
We got there pretty late in the day and missed a few DJs and some of the new media works. Arriving there, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was however disappointed at the general lack of video based works.
The end of my third week has come. This also signals the impending end of this little adventure that looms just over the horizon.
Training-wise it’s been good. Both during the week just past and my overall time spent here. I’m still not confident of the way things are run here, but on the bright side, I have great teachers.
I’m still trying to get used to being called by my Chinese name.
Every night from about 7:30pm onwards, the street vendors setup show outside the school. It’s a simple little setup, a trough with charcoal, a rickety wooden seat, small tiny tables, and cheap plastic chairs. You’d go there and order what you want and it’ll be cooked for you over the coals. Simple but extremely tasty.
The most popular item on the menu would definitely be the lamb skewers. Tasty morsels of meat & fat barbecued till succulent perfection, with a touch of chilli powder.
Feicha, roughly translated into “flying fork” or “flying trident”. At first glance, Feicha looks a lot like contact staff. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought that it was a restrictive and boring form of contact staff.
I am unable to find much information on the history of Feicha online. But I have been told that it was once a skill demonstration that the guards at the Forbidden City would perform every morning for the emperor.
Yesterday marked the end of my first week of official training and my second week at the Beijing Circus School.
My progress seems to have stagnated this week. No big improvement in Feicha, nor straps, nor tumbling.
In fact I managed to strain my back from straps on Thursday. And yesterday I rolled my right ankle in tumbling class. It’s so frustrating that it happened while I was walking on the tumble strip (which is just a bunch of scatter mats covered with a long carpet).
I went though the “jian mian” (see/view face) session this morning. The school wanted to see where I was at physically and what skills I already had. It was pretty simple, a few flexibility tests and a quick demo of other skills that I had. It all went well except for my subject choices.
First, the school refuses to let me do Aerial Silks or Lyra. They initially didn’t even want me doing straps.
The school has finally gotten my medical results and I am to be interviewed/tested tomorrow morning. Looks like formal classes will start soon. But I’m still not going to hold my breath for Aerial Silks classes to be open or available.
Today has been a good day for Feicha. I began consistently nailing a Feicha throw into a something like a Steve (both while turning around and standing still) from a vertical Feicha propeller today.
Today was gloomy, both the skies and my mood. Ended up going over to Coolgers for some tea and Internet access.
Still feeling tired, frustrated and overwhelmed, I decided that my contact staff skills have stagnated for far too long. So, I went to the Home Of Poi forums and MCP’s site to see what new in the staffing world these days.
I downloaded a whole bunch of tutorial videos from MCP’s site to watch when I got back to school.
I’m still not an official student here yet. I might actually be enrolled proper in the coming Monday or Tuesday. But so far I’ve been able to observe (and at times participate at varying levels) a few classes. A number of the teachers here are pretty cool with me trying to sneak into classes to learn despite being jerked around by the school administration.
Also, I might end up doing Lyra instead of Aerial Silks here.
Today, at my second unoffical straps class, I held my first side planche! I wasn’t really expecting it but it happened. Basically during class, we start off by doing 5 set of holds. 10 seconds of front planche (Chinese style, palms facing inwards and arms bent), back planche, meat hook, and 30 seconds of side planche.
Needless to say, the teacher was impressed, holding a side planch in just 2 lessons.
One usually finds cool enclaves while on travel. One such place is a little cafe tucked in the upper levels of Meilainmei.
It seems also that the staff here love acrobats. Which is great for us since we get discounts. And there’s wireless internet access here.
It’s my last night in the 3 person dorm. I was going to move into the spare room at my friend’s apartment for a few days, but received word that a single dorm has become available. I really couldn’t be bothered to move twice in as many days so I opted just to stay in the 3-man dorm for 1 more night. I think my friends were a little disappointed. But then I didn’t have a change of clothes and toiletries when I was met up with them earlier today.
I’ve just finished my 2nd day at the school. I thought as soon as I turned up at school, I’ll get to training pretty much in a day or 2. But no, the administration here is appalling!
First, they insist that after my 7 days of “quarantine”, I must still be subjected to a medical examination that takes about 3 to 4 days for the results to get back. Surely this could have been done before I even got to school.
After grabbing food at the Beijing West Train Station, we started to board the train to Xian. We didn’t manage to get a sleeper cabin, just seats. Looks like this is going to be a long trip. 11 hours in fact.
Beijing West Train Station The train station was sheer bedlam. People sitting around outside, some were sleeping on the floor. And this was just outside the station.
This is the message I get on my iPhone whenever I attempt to get a GPS lock here. I’m not sure if it’s just me, the buildings, or the horrible smog…