Asia blog 36

24 August, China – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’

Today I had the best cup of tea of my life. And I’ve had a few.

We headed back to the site of yesterday’s filming in the Wudang scenic area to film the rest of our song about tea, witnessing a proper Chinese tea ceremony and being treated to some of the lovely by products. It’s quite unlike how we drink it at home, being served to us in glasses with whole leaves in the bottom, with no milk or sugar. It’s very hot in this region at this time of year, and we all felt weirdly hydrated and rejuvenated from drinking it in a way that water doesn’t quite manage. Maybe it was all psychosomatic from all the ritual involved, but there must be a reason that people started going to all the trouble to make the stuff here thousands of years ago, and I think I see why.

With the song in the bag we headed back to the town of Wudang Chan to meet Master Yuan – a kung fu master who was going to train Naomi and I in the ways of his martial art and judge which of us showed the most promise. Spoiler – it wasn’t me.

Our location was a massive 600 year old walled temple, with pictured perfect miniature trees and, within its grounds, several large temple buildings with pagoda style roofs. The whole place was virtually deserted apart from a team of kung fu practising children brought to impress us with their suitably impressive skills, and Master Yuan, who looked like he’d just stepped out of ‘Kill Bill’ and set about teaching us 3 important disciplines, in exactly the manner you would expect a kung fu master to. Beneath his steely demeanour lurked a sense of humour, and he treated us with suitable comic disdain as we tried to kick and punch our way into his good books.

By the time we started filming our final face off in front of the steps of the main temple I was starting to realise that this was probably the most epic Main Event we’ve ever shot, and quite unlike the others, in that it was just Naomi and I face to face with Master Yuan gazing down upon us and shouting instructions. It was so hot, and dressed in our white kung fu robes we sweated our way through lots of balancing and punching. At the end of it all it was no surprise that Naomi was the winner – after years of practising her favourite hobby – dancing – she’s more flexible than a Slinky and has far more balance and co-ordination than me. Although Master Yuan did decide I had greater concentration and focus. HA!

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