As mentioned before Gwen and I the final foreign BaGua Brothers left at DCMAS had to leave. So where did the great flow take us after this. Well, first of all back to Zhengzhou and our little place on Songshan Lu. Sad to leave the school behind but happy to be 'home'. It's the second time I leave a kung fu school and even though this last stay was more free and with fewer obligations than before the feeling of newfound freedom was still there. There was no examination or graduation papers this time but other things told me that these three months had been "worth something".
First, our relationship with Li Laoshi greatly improved and in many ways I'm looking forward to my next stay with Li Laoshi. Some time in the beginning of our last month at DCMAS my Chinese had reached a level where understanding our teacher became possible. I was promptly announced "Translator and Understander of every Chinese Sentence and Word in The World". OK I wish, and far from it. But the abillity to communicate even on a basic level without translators brought us closer. We spent the last days at the school eating and drinking and having fun and on a more serious level we recorded all the stuff we had learned. Li Laoshi wanted us to have films and pictures of everything lest we forget what we did for the last three months. In many ways we'll probably be representatives of his teaching and he wants us to keep practicing. But I'm sure it was also meant as a service to us.
Our teacher came to Zhengzhou the following day after leaving and we met up in Bi Shang Gang Park. I finished the last form which I didn't have time to do in the school and we reviewed and practiced old and new. A long afternoon with more filming but symbolically it seemed perfect. Everything started and it finished there. Full circle.
The great flow or the power of bureaucracy, which ever way you wish you to view it, took me to Hong Kong after. I needed to renew my Chinese visa and furthermore, which I didn't realize, I also needed to travel. After one year in the same place only doing Kung Fu I felt like a newborn traveller. Great feeling. I was on my own since Gwen sat sails for Tibet. His visa had another month before being due.
Like most travellers on a budget I settled in the cheapest dorm I could find, in the world famous Chun King mansion. If you've been to HK you've most likely at least heard of this place. I spent a good 10 days in HK, more than expected but exactly what I needed. Roughly half the time I spent with newfound friends on Kowloon, peninsula, streetlevel using my feet, my wits and a map and the occasional help from a local to get around. The other half I spent on HK Island and one of the surrounding islands called Lamma. Here the second effect of training became apparent. My confidence was definitely greater than in earlier travels, though Im still a humble man, and I never felt scared or worried walking around in HK even at night time. I made sure to keep training even though this was my first holiday in a long time. No rest for masters in becoming.
HK is way more expensive than China and people seem more unattached - an effect of the constant wake of tourists and big city life I reckon. But just below the surface and all the bullshit, the big city glitter and fake politness people have hearts. Great big open warm hearts ready to welcome you and show around. They might still try to fuck you but if you let them know that this not accepted, with a firm but friendly tone, you can still make some friends and have a nice time there - even if you dont go to all the fancy clubs or Disneyland. Which I didn't, thank you very much. It can be hard to find places where small bills and coins are welcome but I can recommend 7-11Bar. Its open all night, beers are cheap but service is lacking. They don't kick you out for being drunk though, just tell you hurry up and stop bothering other customers. If not for an all nighter this place is wonderful for warm-up before hitting the clubs (which I didn't). Finding a visa proved to be a bit troublesome office hours, policy changes and Chinese holiday taken into consideration. But everything turned out right and I could go back to China with a new tourist visa.
Between the bedbugs in ChunKing Mansion, the extremely nice weather, drinking eating and enjoying, great people, Kung Fu on the rooftop, trips to Lamma and the beach, walks around HK Island and Kowloon and indian/pakistani food Hong Kong offered everything for a one-man traveller. Even on a budget. I had a great time and hope to go back some day.