Since I discovered Wuhan, I have always went there alone, leaving my wife at her work at the hospital in Zhanjiang but this time we decided to go together; to make her discover this city she had never visited and meet my friends, the gyro players in Yanjiang Park.
As I still speak weak Chinese, I knew that this trip with my wife would be an opportunity to understand many things including essential informations that I missed out. I was right; The day after our arrival, the rain interrupted our morning training and we found ourselves chatting in the shelter of the trees. So I learned that there was still a bunch of whip players in Beijing Lu.
For those who would not have read all my Chronicles, Beijing Lu is a small square, located not far from Da Zhe lu that I had discovered on my first trip to Wuhan; I had met (without knowing) my future coach. I also saw a few whip players coming together early in the morning, but at the time I was looking to meet some gyro players and I just had a quick look.
Since then, time have passed and now I am interested in whip practice as well as gyro one; It was no longer necessary for me to propose to my wife a detour by Beijing Lu after the morning training, and that is how we rediscovered the Beijing Lu square where I didn’t come for more than a year.
The place had not changed, apart from the fact that the players had left the entrance to the square on Zhong Shan da Dao to settle down at the rear. They were a dozen, divided into three small groups, sitting on folding, their thermos of tea and their whisks carefully laid on a piece of cloth in front of them.
This time, as I was accompanied, I let my wife engage the conversation. I do not know what she told them but I quickly found myself with a whip in my hands and asked to show what I knew. Not much in truth, compared to what I was going to find out later, but enough to convince them that the “Waigo Jen” (Foreigner in Chinese) that I was, was not a mere tourist but an amateur player.
Me who just, thought of coming as a tourist and doing some pictures for fun, I had to try the whips of each other and receive some advices before leaving the whip and attending some amazing demonstrations: a young woman first, thirties in ruffle skirt. She took her 2.5 meters whip and made it twirl in every way, without apparent effort and with a grace that I had never seen. Then another player, closer to the Sixties, made another demonstration; Then another one again.
With my friends Pin and Li from Beiqiao Park, I thought I already had an idea of what could be done with a whip, but when I saw the players from Beijing read at work, I realized that my friends from Zhanjiang still had work to do before reaching that level.
Then we discussed equipments; All these players had great whips and for having tried a few, I knew it was excellent material. But at 300 yuan (€45), it was a little bit expensive and the purchase needed reflection even if the “master” of the group was ready to deliver me a whip the next day. In short, I did not order a whip but we still returned to Beijing Lu the next day, to take more photos. While I was trying to capture the movement of a whip with my smartphone (which is not really the ideal tool), my wife was chatting with a small group of players.
She first learned that these players had created an association and that they were organizing a trip to Guiyang to participate in a whip competition. She then learned that if she wanted to buy a small “Lady Whip”, she could benefit from the association’s rate of 100 yuan. In fact this little Lady whip (as I called it) was a 2.5 meters whip, identical to the one used by the young woman to make her show; So a perfect whip to work smooth movements.
Of course we ordered the whip; As for the trip to Guiyang, the idea did not make me leap with joy. In spring 2016, I had already spent a week in the capital of Guizhou province and the place had not thrilled me. However, after thinking, I thought that the opportunity to attend a whip competition with a Chinese team would not come soon and that it had to be enjoyed. So I gave my agreement in principle and since we expect news from the Beijing Lu team to organize our trip from Zhanjiang. Because they have chartered a bus from Wuhan and there is no question of having twenty hours of train then thirteen hours of bus to reach Guiyang while there is a train that leaves from Zhanjiang and we will there in 15 hours..