12 March 2012

Spring Rain, Flowering Life

A light rain settled over the Mountain Campus for the past week, though finally today it was dry. No complaints, really, since the precipitation clears the smoggy air a bit and makes for spring flowers aplenty:

Walking past the lower corner from my building, a sweet familiar scent caught my nose and sure enough a cherry tree (or some close relative) had burst into bloom:

Now THIS was interesting: on my way home from the supermarket, I passed a lady with swords slung over her back. Then another. I paused, and two more joined them. Veering from my usual shortcut, I followed discretely. Ten or so middle-aged women gathered in vacant out-of-the way spot and began warming up with a little taichi, plus twirling swords and what not. I pantomimed permission to photograph. Poetry in motion. Body and mind. Nanjing 1937? Never again!:

A group of the minority pre-graduate students stopped by my office and took me out to supper (they paid!). This was "dry hotpot" (i.e. no oil floating on top)--very good as is most everything I've eaten in China. And with such good company and a few glasses of beer, you can't go wrong:

Moved into my luxurious new apartment (with it's VERY OWN hot water heater) last week. I have to say, Southwest University (and my students and colleagues) are really pampering me. I would ask my Dean back in the U.S. for better terms, but he's probably pay SWU to take me. Two features of the new place are especially appreciated: a (whoo-hooh!) washing machine on the balcony; and an efficient little kitchen:

The living room is nice too--well lit by the large sliding glass doors to the balcony and also with a big chandelier. A good place to crash after a long day at the office or exploring local byways:

No week is going to be complete, it seems, without noticing the work of the building & grounds crew in working so artfully with nature (I need to find out if I can meet one of the gardeners):

Finally, the highlight of my week. It was my great honor to meet Chen Baoqiang, Professor of Wushu (= Martial Chen, Professor of Martial Arts). He is a Kung Fu master and part of a small but growing revival of traditional Chinese martial arts (swords, boxing, fighting poles, etc), including archery:

He has a number of students learning the traditional Manchu bow, and some show very good form:

I also shot a few arrows. The bow, though very short especially for my 6-foot frame/29+" draw, is also remarkably smooth. I regularly hit within 8 inches or so of the target center at 20 meters, and with a little work on my grip and arrow nock placement should do better.  There is no "shelf" for the arrow--you shoot it off our index finger. Likewise, no nocking point on the string--you just eyeball what seems right. Looks like a new Friday routine!


Sylvia K said...

What a wonderful adventure and you do seem to be having a great time! I think it's terrific! Enjoying your posts and photos! Have a great week!


Veronica Wald said...

My how things have changed since the 1980s, for guests and locals alike. Who wouldn't love that cute little kitchen with the window view of the lawn?

sandy said...

More interesting info!
You have really neat kitchen. I am surprised your apartment looks so western.

troutbirder said...

Totally fascinating. I'm thinking on getting a sword now. Already have a bow from my whitetail days...

Janie said...

Chinese archery looks like your perfect sport for the next few months.
The women practicing with swords is fascinating. They really do look poetic.

BLD in MT said...

Fascinating as usual. Those roots growing into the stone. Amazing. I hope you do meet a gardener!

What a nice, bright yellow kitchen you've got there. Looks like a happy place to whip up a meal.

John Bardsley said...

Great stuff -- thanks!