We were awake before the 7.30 alarm, eager to start our day! It is nice having a large bedroom so I take advantage and do some morning yoga before breakfast. Breakfast is congee, which I personally think is disgusting, milky overcooked rice, but when in Rome…..it is still minging.
View from back window of our room.
We go upstairs for our first lesson with AhWei. He is very patient of us blundering, forgetful westerners. We make hard work of the smooth tai chi moves you see in the park, forgetting what to do with our hands, hips and where our gaze should be. By the end of 2 hours we have got a move (kind of) memorised and we feel relaxed and stretched. It is a calming exercise and I can see that once you can remember the moves it will be flowing and therapeutic exercise.
The school dog, Hotpot (yep, you guessed it, so named as she was saved from the Hotpot) comes up to check our moves, and the school parrot screeches Ni Hoa, impersonates a screechy door and the vehicle reversing noise every few minutes which makes me chuckle.
We are rudely awaken by our names being called. We are late for our second lesson! It starts at 3 pm not 3.30pm, ooops!
Our teacher is Master Ping, and the man is amazing. He tells us about tai chi the basics, the links to chinese culture and gets our ‘forms’ more refined and do some standing meditation, not as easy as yoga, where you are lying on the floor and no one notices if you are having a doze (provided you don’t snore).
Feeling suitably stretched and relaxed we chill and wait for dinner drum to to sound.
The evening is spent having tea made for us chinese style, and chatting to a Singaporean about Brexit. We learn that Master Ping is doing a Push Pull tai chi course at 8.30 so go and watch. It is basically blokes pushing and pulling each other to get them off the mat. It seems hard work though and even the 13 yr old kid is holding his ground with Master Ping and is not a pushover. Eventually Master Ping asks Guy is he wants a go and he warms up like a footballer on the side of the pitch. He is eventually thrown into the ring, like a rag doll to the hounds…..in fairness he does really well and manages to stay upright and gives as good as he gets, and both him and his opponent leave the mat sweaty and out of breath.