A year ago when Sifu asked me to organize the China trip, I was a bit worried as I didn’t know if people would be interested, and what expectations they would have in mind.
The responses I got when I approached people were: August was too hot to go to Asia and airfare was too expensive. Eventually, there were 6 students plus 2 youngsters interested in the trip.
On August 17th, we started our journey. It was a very pleasant ride taking the express train from H.K. to Guangzhou. After checking into the hotel arranged by Sifu’s nephew, we took a walk along Zhu Jiang River (珠江河), then we had dinner at a very nice restaurant owned by Sifu’s childhood friend, Mr. Chan (陳崇威). The dishes were stunningly delicious. The most impressive dish was the roasted baby pig about the size of a platter plate. The next day we toured around Guangzhou.
Besides sightseeing, we also went to some nostalgic places – Sifu’s old residence, his school, and the park where he practiced his martial arts and taichi. He also told us many stories about Guangzhou and his childhood. It seems that we had known Sifu since he was a child.
The following two days we went to Shantou (汕頭) and Chaozhou(潮州), where we tasted the typical street food for lunch , and had seafood dinner at a very special open restaurant near the river. We also paid respect to the tomb of our great grand master, Mr. Luo Ji Hong.
After the Chao Shan (潮汕) trip, we went to Zhaoqing (肇慶) to meet Sifu’s students in China. The day we arrived was their association’s 4th anniversary celebration, and there was a big banquet with over 60 people attending. The welcoming ceremony was overwhelming, and the whole night was joyous with good food, demonstrations, songs and exchange of gifts. We got to meet some very wonderful people like Mr. Liang Weiji (梁偉基), Mr Su Xinjian (蘇新建), 陳秀香, 徐顯光, 廖少明, 黎炳強, 羅國泉, and many others. Mr. Liang is the chief organizer of the association and Mr. Su had been accompanying us throughout the 潮汕 trip, making sure that we were well taken care of. Many of these newly met China taichi friends took us for sightseeing at Ding Hu (鼎湖), and we visited an organic farm where we had a delicious lunch at the farm. Dinner that night was the famous vegetarian food at Ding Hu鼎湖.
When we arrived at the city of Zhaoqing, Sifu’s childhood friend, Mr. He Qinghua (何慶華), who is now the Party Secretary of the City of Zhaoqing, and his wife, hosted us for two days. For these two days, we were his honourable guests, dinning at the nicest restaurant in town, and touring around in a very comfortable van. Another childhood friend of Sifu, Mr. Zhong Zihe (鐘志和), was also very hospitable and accompanied us in many occasions. We visited the bamboo field, where the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” was filmed. We also visited Seven Star Cave (七星岩), which is one of the four most famous mountain ranges in Guangzhou.
After Zhaoqing, some went back to H.K. and some stayed for one more night at Guangzhou. One thing we all agreed is to have another China trip in the near future. It was indeed a very special trip. The warm welcome from all the people that we met really touched our hearts.
Here, I want to give my special thanks to Sifu’s sister and her son, Mr. Huang Jin (黃進), Sifu’s childhood friends, Sifu’s taichi friends at 潮汕, our taichi friends at Zhaoqing, and Sifu’s former student Brian, for their hospitality. Last but not least, thank you Sifu for introducing us to your friends and relatives, and arranging a wonderful trip for us to learn more about your past and the province of Guangzhou. We will definitely return in the future.
August 31, 2010 | Helen Lau