26 August, China – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
It was time to say goodbye to Wudang today and make our way back to Beijing. One of the plus points of having to bring some of our filming forward earlier in the week was that today we had less to do, and it’s not often that happens on ‘All Over The Place’. We filmed a quick little sketch in a giant cinema hall in a wing of our hotel that I’d never even noticed, then checked out and made our way back to the Taoist temple and grounds where we filmed on Wednesday, to finish off a couple of opening links to items and bits and bobs for the Internet. At one point I even got to sit under the shade of a tree and soak up the calming atmosphere of the walled garden and could almost transport myself back to what it might have been like here 600 years ago.
After lunch I had another run in with another of China’s squat toilets. The level of hygiene here is halfway between Japan (hospital grade) and India (virtually non existent), and although I appreciate that a cubicle with a ceramic hole in the ground is in some ways cleaner than having a sit down toilet to maintain, it would be nice to have some toilet paper, something to dry your hands on and some soap. I’m not very good at squatting either (after years of running and not warming down properly afterwards my leg muscles are pretty tight), so the whole operation is a bit fraught and I’ll be glad to see the back of it. Too much information? Oh well.
On the bus to the airport we all enjoyed watching researcher Ewan’s Chinese DVD ‘Shaolin Soccer’, one of the most (intentionally) bonkers comedy films I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know the Chinese could be so funny (something I’ve learnt travelling round the world is that the British are slightly arrogant about how great their sense of humour is. It seems to me that most nations have a pretty developed one, but don’t feel the need to show it off in quite the same way as we do).
Arrived at our hotel in Beijing zombie eyed at 1am having not eaten for 12 hours and had a club sandwich and a plate of chips before bed. It’s not normally part of my bedtime routine…