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In Wuhan we discovered a few things that I hadn't had chance to discover before. Along with the interesting colonial architecture of Hankou (you'll have to wait for photos of that I'm afraid) there was the very bizarrely low-key nature of Mao's Villa.
Mao came to Wuhan many times and would stay short periods of up to five months.
The authorities don't seem to know what to do with this museum piece of slightly kitsch early 70s decor. Finding the place was challenge enough. There was one very bored lady on the desk and then we got free reign of his home. As you can see from the photos we made full use of this freedom - something I'm sure Mao would have disapproved of a lot! There are some video images that go even further - but unfortunately I can't get them onto the website at the moment. I'll let you know when I get that bit sorted.
Tae Kwon Do
And finally, what you've all been waiting for. Pictures of me practicing my Tae Kwon Do. At the beginning of the holiday (before Ed arrived) American Jon and I enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do school and kept going for a full fortnight before Ed's arrival in Beijing pulled me away.
I'm sure I remember lots of sage advice from gym instructors in the UK about not pushing yourself too far, not bouncing and not straining yourself. I had particularly strong recollections of this advice whilst the instructor was bouncing up and down on my outstretched legs as he tried to get them to go flatter, or as he pushed me hard downwards as I was trying to approximate the splits.
To give him his due though, it certainly worked and I was a lot more supple by the end of the fortnight. A facet I quickly lost in the weeks afterwards. I never picked up much skill at the sport. But I got to have some funky photos of me taken. This is another place where the videos show more. Still, whilst we are waiting for the miracles of modern technology to catch up with my web page designing skills here are the photos!
You might not be able to quite tell from these photos the boyish grin that the instructor sported most of the time. It might have been saying "Look at these poor western fools" But I think it was saying "I have just bounced up and down on the outstretched legs of these poor western fools. They won't walk for a week."
Finally, just to prove that I wasn't the only one getting into the spirit of it, here are photographic records of Jon's efforts...
Launched on December 25th 2003