torsdag 28 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

All the previous days are below.

Day 6 and 7. Children for free.

On our last day in Beijing we went for a guided tour to the Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. This was China for me, beautiful architecture, and fantasy animals for decorations. After the tour the guide took us to a silk factory and after that to a hospital that offered free foot massage and palm reading and then they tried to sell some herb medicines for all the illnesses we had and there were no western medicines that could cure us...

On the way back to the hotel the guide wanted to take us to a tee house but we were fed up with all the commercials.In the evening we went for a last shopping trip and we ended up in the cafe/bar we went to last night and Gert got his Leffe Blonde. We also took one last meal in a restaurant across the street. We found Turtle soup, duck heads, duck tongue and other weird things. In the street outside a women tried to give us her child...

We left China Sunday around ten in the morning and it was great to go home! Not the best trip but absolutely an experience...

söndag 24 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

Day 1, 2, 3 and 4 published below.

Day 5, never trust the Chinese.

Same breakfast again… Waiting for the bus to the arena, again… To shoot four arrows… Scored 19 points I think. Missed the first one… After that first, I started to focus more and the last one was in the yellow field. It’s not that hard actually if you do everything right and don’t cut anycorners. You have to be clear in your mind and only focus (don’t think!) on your target, not the whole target, one tiny spot, in this case the yellow centre.

After the target shoot we shot some flight and one man from Hungary won. I got his card afterwards and apparently he shoots over 500 meters! With a bow made of modern materials and a flight arrow, but anyways… I haven’t shot over 200 meters yet, that’s my goal this summer.

As usually there were a lot of pictures taken, we were dressed up for the last day of the shoot.

Back to the hotel again, same lunch again, then back to the stadium for the closing ceremony. They talked a lot in Chinese and everyone was clapping their hands. People came forth to receive prizes and suddenly there were a lot of prizes given away to all the superb Chinese archers… And afterwards we found out that we had competed against modern bows made of fiberglass and arrows of carbon fiber. I was really pissed! It felt like they had just used us for “propaganda” for the people to look at, take pictures of and touch (lots of touching). And to see the great Asians beat the lousy Westerners.

The competition went reasonably well for shooting against modern bows, I think I ended up in an 8th place and Bengt in 9th of about a total of 70 archers.

Same dinner again… We had a talk with the hosts of the event about losses in information and communication. We had to pay a lot more than we thought we had to do and so on…

The evening ended with a good party. Lots of singing in Chinese and the manager of the hotel, who was some kind of Chinese opera singer, sang in such high pitch that the glasses almost burst. I and Linda tried to drench us in some kind of Mongolian moonshine we passed to each other on the spinning glass disk in the middle of the table.

A good ending for a lousy day.

lördag 23 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

Day 1, 2, 3 published below.

Day 4. At the buts.

Today it rained when we woke up. It had been a thunderstorm in the night.

This is good for us, the weather is cooler and our yew bows perform much better when it’s not hot and dry. The time is 11:27(05:57) and it’s only 29 degrees in the shade! I’m sitting and writing in our shed at the shooting field, waiting for my third shoot. It’s going pretty well for me. We are shooting four arrows at sixty meters and so far I’ve scored 13 and 12 points. And to be honest I am not impressed by the other classes. Many of them are shooting fibreglass bows and carbon fibre arrows, so much for traditional...

The referee treats us like idiots, running around, speaking Chinese like we understand everything as clear as water, pointing and blowing his whistle like a “whistle Führer” .

22:24. Lying in bed at the hotel. My third shoot was my worst. We just came back from lunch, which was the best so far, some kind of Chinese meatballs(with of course some bone splinters and sinews, as usual) and when we arrived at the buts they had already started without me so I had to stress away and only scored two points...

After that they moved the targets to 40 meters and it felt much easier but in Sweden, 40 meters is far away. Now Bengt started to close in on my me and we have to wait until tomorrow for the results and to shoot our last four arrows. I’ve started to wonder in which class we are shooting since no one asked us, they just whistle and point...

I skipped dinner in the hotel for a quick nap and was glad I did so. Bengt said it was chicken-head-soup and fish-head-soup. For some hours ago we joined the Romanians for a BBQ hunt. Some Chinese archers accompanied us to a street “grill” with sheep heads lying around in the sun with flies all over; we turned back and started searching. It was really hard but at last we found it. The first two floors were a construction site but we got a private room and it was the best food I tasted on the whole trip.

Now I’m going to sleep for the first time in days without being hungry.

onsdag 13 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

Day 1 and 2 published below…

Day 3, the eye in the street.

Sitting I the shade and the time is 15:57 (09:57 back in Sweden), the temperature is 36 degrees Celsius and we are at an altitude of approximately 2050 meters. A lot of waiting…

And most of the archers were dressed up in their tradition clothes. A couple from South America was dressed in big native Indian feather headdresses and Chrissie and Glennan wore their beautiful Tudor clothes. I and Bengt wore our red and black livery clothes. After breakfast we went by bus to the stadium for the big opening ceremony.

It was crazy, people everywhere who waited to pose with us for pictures and wanted us to sign their clothes or arms.

We paraded out in the arena with our little sign-carrying-girl in front of us. 3000 people were there to look at us, they released pigeons, shot fireworks and orchestras were playing.

After that we sat down to watch a huge show performed by all Ledu’s schoolchildren, but it was all in Chinese and we were dying of thirst and heat. Luckily Chris (a guy from Canada, who spoke Chinese fluently) brought packs of bottled water!

When we waited for the bus back to the hotel the mob gathered and demanded more autographs and photos.

Well back at the hotel it was time for lunch! The same food again, except this time we also had rice and bread! Bengt said, you could sort out some good pieces of meat from a stew to eat with the rice.I started to look in the pot for pieces of meat without bone fragments or sinews but I walked away after a big eye stared up at me from the mess… Luckily the steady amount of alcohol gives me the nutrition I need.

And of we were to practice… We had to wait two damned hours in 36 degrees heat to shoot four bloody arrows at 60 meters and four at 40 meters!

At this time we started to get sick of not getting any information about anything. Luckily, back at the hotel the Rumanians had bought some beers. We had a bottle and afterwards some of us took a walk in the city. First we saw a barbecue stand with whole goat heads and a cow stomach. After that we crossed a branch of the Yellow river and the smell was awful.

They are building new skyscrapers in every street but at the same time buildings falls to ruins besides them. Like whatever… ( or face bothered as Glennan would have said J)

On the way back to the hotel we saw an eye lying on the pavement outside a butcher’s shop…

We had some dinner at the hotel. The same damned food again!

In the night one of the Chinese who thought he could speak English like a god took us for a tour to look for a bar. After an hour or so he told us all the bars were closed today because of the competition… At this time I could stand up sleeping. Christian, one of the Rumanians was very stubborn in finding a bar so we kept looking without our “guide”. We looked in streets named “Robbery Alley”, “Rape Street” and in the “No light District”.

Before I got to bed I ate a piece of Rumanian dried sausage, made my day…

måndag 11 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

Day 1 is published below...

Day 2, Fawlty Towers.

7.40 In the morning, Chinese time. Damn I’m going to starve to death! I’m sitting at breakfast on day 3 and trying to summarize last day. Havin’ a traditional Chinese breakfast and the only things that is edible is some kind of fried bread and some kind of dough package with vegetables and minced meat inside.
Yesterday I woke up an hour after I wrote the first chapter in the diary. The night was short cuz we were flying east...We landed at Beijing International airport at around 7 in the morning and we started go through all the security checks, took a train to pick up our luggage. That was necessary because the airport hall is about 1 000 000 square meters! It was built for the Olympics and it’s really huge and stunning.
We met Glennan and Chrissie at the exit and they were hoping someone would pick us up when we arrived so they also could get some information but no one came for us... We asked at the information desk an found out there were tickets booked in our name to Xining at around 14.00, long wait!
We had a breakfast at Burger King’s, tasty and cheap, the only bad thing is that no one speaks a word of English in the entire airport.A few minutes before we boards the plane some people explain that we are going to follow them and they are going to take us to our hotel in Ledu after we land in Xining. Not a minute too late! Back on the plane I tried to sleep again but it was hard because it was a short flight. We also had some food! Some kind of bread and a piece of strange meat. When I looked out the window the landscape looked more like Afghanistan than China. The landing was the worst I’ve experienced, the pilot first took the plane down but then changed his mind and started climbing again, flew for another 15 minutes and then turned and went back again. Thought he was lost... After the landing we were packed in an old buss bound for Ledu. Hot, dusty and bumpy. The buss driver honked his at every car we passed the whole trip which lasted about an hour. We soon realized ,people drive and walk on the street just how they feel like.

When we entered the hotel we were met by a horde of other archers who wanted to have a look at our bows and arrows instead of checking in or get out of the way so we could check in. The organization wasn’t the best, nothing to hang in the Christmas tree as we would have said in Sweden.

Our hotel room... Doors that doesn’t close, big stains and burn marks on the floor and on the walls, the toilet doesn’t flush, the power shuts down once in a while, and big holes in the hall way floor and walls... And so on.

Then it was time for dinner, food! And wine and rice wine. But the food... chicken wok with chicken heads, a whole fish, liver, the only thing that was edible was bananas and some kind of meat that was soon eaten. On our table there was our “gang” ( EWBS, ETAS etc”) and the team from Slovakia.
People went up on the stage and sang folklore songs from their county/province and me and Bengt took the stage and sang När gäddorna leker.
Everybody was dunk and wanted to say hello and have a toast. They doesn’t handle alcohol that well those Asians... We had many good and interesting discussions with the other Europeans.
Had a good night sleep.

To be continued.

lördag 9 juli 2011

There and back again, an archer's tale by Robin Eriksson.

This is some withdraws from my journal I wrote on my trip to China. It was written there and it contains my view of all the craziness. I apologize for all the spelling mistakes...

Day 1, Get there...

The time is 21.48 Swedish time (03.48 in China) and we are on the plane bound for Beijing from Helsinki. Outside the plane its -46 degrees Celsius and we are currently flying at a height of 11145 meters with a bearing of 146 degrees at a speed of 868km/h. Right now we are flying between Novosibirsk and Abakan, names barely heard of (think Abakan is the name of a weapon in Battlefield Bad Company 2...). Bengt sits next to me sleeping and I’ve tried making it comfortable for me too but it’s hard in these seats...
Bengt picked me up in Tibro between 5 and 6. He drove from Gothenburg to Stockholm sense they booked our tickets wrong... so we flew from Sweden 12.55
On our way through Sweden we talked about Bengt’s trip to Batsford, the future for Companie of Saint Sebastian, my trip to Ekolsund, our jobs and future events like Visby, Agincourt 2015 and about arranging a Roving Mark shoot in Sweden.
We also discussed this trip... Both of us did not believe this was true until we were on the plane, and here we sit...
A nice big red sun sets behind the Siberian tundra, our seats are in the middle row so we can’t see so much, pity...
When we landed in Helsinki we found our travelling companions Linda and Gert which had flown from Amsterdam. I met Linda at Great Scania 3d Shoot last summer but Bengt knows them both very well. We sat down and had a beer (or two)and had a lot of laughter while we waited for our flight to Beijing. Two really friendly Dutchmen. At the time we sat there Linda had sms contact with Glennan and Chrissie from England. They arrived in Beijing yesterday and have been waiting to fly to Ledu (where the archery contest is held) but after 4 hours of waiting they found out that they had tickets to the next day... The committee of the competition haven’t given us much information about anything for example our visas was ready just a few days before the trip because the invitation was so late.
Finaly on the plane we got airplane food in the form of ONE pannbiff in brunsås with some fried potatoes, one coleslaw(which was nice), some crackers, a piece of airplane bread(which I loved when I was a kid), one chocolate ball and a cheese(which I was able to trade for Beng’t chocolate ball, Score!). After the meal I watched an episode of Deadwood in my phone, I also turned on the little computer in the seat ahead of me (AHHH TURBULANCE!!!!) and watched an episode of Berar Grylls(he’s the best! )trying to learn two of his fans how to survive in Canada. The guy from New York had a really rough time. After that I watched Rango, which Gunnarsson back at work had recommended, it was good. Then I tried to take a nap but it was hard so I ended up writing this instead (damn, the whole plane shakes now!).
The time is now 22.18 and we are soon flying in above Inner Mongolia.
To be continued...