Visit to China (2013)
A group of Canterbury players have just returned from China after two weeks of table tennis and sight seeing. Leon Jiang led a party comprised of, Yi-Sien Lin, Simon Wallace, Lyndon White, Gregg Davey and Alan Moore accompanied by Kathy Davey, Tanya White and Cathy Moore on an adventure second to none. Two cities hosted us for matches to celebrate friendship between associations in Yueyang and Xi'an and Canterbury. The Mayors of both cities were involved along with talented amateurs competing against our three, two person teams. Yi-Sien and Simon played very well and were more than competitive winning most of their matches. Leon and Lyndon kept their opponents honest with several notable wins. Gregg surprised his opponents with great chopping and his defense led to some good wins. Alan was only successful in his match with the Mayor of Xi'an (a city of over 10 million population) and it would probably have been wiser to have lost.
The hospitality shown by the two host associations was amazing with beautiful meals and transport as well as gifts which has left us all feeling very humble. No effort was spared in making our visit memorable and the sights and experiences we had will be indelibly imprinted upon us. High lights of the trip were: the wonderful variety of food and flavours wherever we ate, the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, The Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Great Wall in Beijing and of course the many, many people of China with whom we made contact over the duration of the visit.
To say we all enjoyed this fantastic journey would be a great understatement, despite the very firm beds in the hotels and sometimes unusual parts of fish and animals which were presented as food options. China is a vast and populous land with many things to do and see, we merely scratched the surface of what is available and yearn for more. We were very fortunate to have had Leon Jiang arrange so much for us through his network of table tennis friends in Yueyang and Xi'an. The trip would not have been possible without his knowledge and enthusiasm. We hope we have left a good impression with our hosts and we look forward to an opportunity in the future to be able to repay them with a display of Kiwi hospitality if they are able to come to Christchurch.