beijing train station

I’m sitting in the Beijing West train station with mixed feelings.

The vagabonding part of me is on fire, my backpack is sitting beside of me, well organized and ready for action, and a ticket to the south is burning a hole in my pocket. The hair is standing on the back of my neck just thinking about being on this poopy third-class train for 10 hours — a one-way ride back to my mountains and even closer to my jungle in Laos. I have been in the city for so long that the thoughts of swatting at mozzies as I sweat in a bungalow is actually appealing to me.

At the same time, I have grown comfortable here in Beijing. I have figured out how to get around and have made some great memories with people that I hate to leave. I will never forget sitting in the 365 Inn Sakura cafe on Dha Zha Lan talking and listening to CCR until 4 a.m. I think sifu — my kung fu teacher — was right: I have grown “soft like the noodles.” I am going to miss Beijing.

My train leaves in one hour.

This has been an amazing nine days, which a good blog writer would have probably shared on a regular basis, but who knows: maybe I can dig myself out of this hole yet.

October 1 was National Day in China, and everyone was on holiday. I guess I decided to take a week off as well, and spent my time running around this crowded city to make some incredible memories. The internet cafes were bursting with Chinese kids playing loud games and my patience and motivation to do any writing was low. I do have some great pictures and journal entries that I hope to trickle out to the web.

national day china

Everyone in China came to Beijing for the National Day holiday!

Somehow this week, I found myself singing karaoke in a small private room at a KTV — my worst nightmare come true, but it actually turned out to be a little fun. I was lost at least a dozen times, eating snake, grasshoppers (again), and even dog which was exciting (especially when I walked outside the restaurant and a small dog was barking at me in the street!) I even made my way to the Great Wall, and although it was raining, literally sat in the clouds and listened to Chinese music drift up from the valley below me.

greg rodgers great wall of china

The good news is that I feel well rested and back to 100 percent, actually better, after a month of Shaolin training. My left foot — which was almost broken — still hurts now and then, but my knee and shoulder are all healed up.

I will write more about my week when I get to the south and have some positive chi.

For now, I have a train to catch.