Our last couple of days in Beijing were spent with training for what we would experience as teachers in China and in general what we would experience living in China. It was a couple of long days but worth it with lots of information and ideas for teaching, which starts soon. After our trainings though, we had some free time that I used to go on a couple more adventures.
The blot on the landscape?
After another adventure to the Silk Market via subway, an adventure in and of itself, I made it to something I’ve wanted to see all week after reading about it in my Lonely Planet guidebook. I didn’t get to go inside but the outside is magnificent. It’s the National Center for the Performing Arts.
According to the Lonely Planet description, this building was designed by ADP Aeroports de Paris, the one design that didn’t incorporate influences from the neighboring Hall of the People or Forbidden City. The building is a big dome made of metal and glass. Its surrounded by a reflecting pool that completes the image creating a full oval that looks like either an ear of corn, a lotus blossom or who knows what. You tell me.
Some people consider it a blot on the landscape, but I find it beautiful. To get back to the hostel we walked by the gate to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, which are beautiful at night.
Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu
On my last night in Beijing, I joined some of the other teachers seeing a show called Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu. It was a fantastic show that told the story and journey of Chun Yi who was dropped off at a monastery as a young boy by his mother. He did not want to be there and then he saw kung fu. It was then that he decided to stay and train.
The show displays many amazing fetes of acrobatics and martial arts as it tells the boy’s coming-of-age story. The production describes kung fu as an art that teaches harmony and working as a group to achieve harmony. The art strives to be in balance with nature using it as a teacher. This is where the animal styles of kung fu come from, the mirroring of nature.
Chun Yi goes through different stages as he progresses in the story including temptation and overcoming personal selfish desires. One of my favorite scenes is when they demonstrate the animal styles of kung fu in their basic forms. You could really see how the movements of the animals inspired these styles.
No photos were permitted during this show, but we got a fun kung fu pic outside afterward. This show had a great production value with wonderful sets, lighting and effects. The story was told in English so we didn’t have to watch subtitles but could watch the stage. For some reason, I was deeply touched while watching this production. I felt that this is where I should be right now. I had a confirmation that I should be in China.
The next day I would be leaving Beijing for Hefei and had no clue what lay ahead of me. Beijing is amazing and I’m sure I’ll find myself back there again at some point before I leave this great land.