Day 9 is in Anyang, considered a small town in Chinese context, with approximately 5 million citizens. It is a 3300 year old city, which was capital during the Shang Dynasty. Here is also the archaeological site of the earliest Chinese writing.
As our bus approaches Anyang's People's Park, we notice that the area is filled with people and we hear music and see all the trappings signalling a town festival is in progress. Curious to see what is happening we gather at the windows of the bus and suddenly we see a bright red banner which reads:
”Welcome the Olympics Norway – Anyang Tai Chi Culture Friendship Campaign”
We suddenly realize that the 'festival' is in fact a welcoming ceremony in our honour and we feel awed and humbled. Hundreds of brightly dressed performers had devoted their time and energy to welcome us to their city! As we step from the bus, we feel like rock stars, as people push to be near us and as the beat of drums and a ‘dragon’ weaves a path for us into the Park.Not only Taiji practitioners, but local politicians, business men and I Ching scholars took part in the official welcome. After the obligatory speeches and gift exchange, the colourful performers proudly display their skills with swords, fans, and music. Then we are welcomed to join the festivities and show our Taiji skills. The audience watches in awe as these strange foreigners in white silk Taiji suits show that the ancient Chinese traditions are being honoured beyond their borders. As we come to the 'single whip' a loud applause and shout of joy rings from the crowd.Although only a short time in Anyang, we feel we have made good contacts and friends, many follow us back to our bus and give us hugs and throw kisses as if we were departing family.The following Day we found we were front page news in Anyang newspaper: Here is a short extract:
“China and Foreign Tai Chi experts practice Wushu”
“On the afternoon of March 22nd, 28 people from the Norway Taiji Centre came to the ancient capital - Anyang with their great interest in Chinese traditional Zhou Yi Taiji. They appreciated the performance of Taiji and communicated with experts of Anyang in the People’s Park.”
But our adventure in Anyang did not end in the park! Back on our bus, we were given a police escort to the Museum created from the findings of the excavations of the Zhou Dynasties (1400-1100BC) where there were discovered Turtle shells which showed the first development of Chinese writings. More than 150 000 'Oracle Bones' had been discovered here. Inscriptions made on tortoise shells, using hot pins that made cracks and patterns on the shells, forming the base for divination. This tradition later developed into the I Ching.