Struggles and Adventures Galore

31 07 2010

Oh wow Beijing, you’re really giving me mixed signals. It’s been a roller coaster of a 48 hrs with varying results.

Day one was strange. Jet lag has been kicking my ass, and so early mornings and the 8 PM collapse of all bodily functions has been difficult to deal with. There are a lot of things that bother me already about the city. It takes literally forever to get anywhere here, whether you’re walking, busing, or; the latter two being an issue of over crowding. I didn’t think it was possible to be physically touched by so many people at the same time, but rest assured, it is. The air quality is as advertised, terrible terrible terrible. Every day is a different shade of gray, and as death cab for cutie as that may sound, the skies have been as varied as pavement to steel. And of course, the adjustment period that comes with moving to a new city post-college promises a degree of isolation (unless you moved to New York…). And while I had tried to prepare myself to really deal with this, it’s the combination of loneliness and absolute lack of personal space the city allows you that has me frustrated.

But anyway, I was resolute in fighting the oncoming doldrums, and decided get to some of the sightseeing business out of the way to remain active and upbeat. So at 6 in the morning, I hauled my ass out of my  apartment, and took the bus (yes mother, the bus) to Jingshan Park. This turned out to be a GREAT decision, because with it being both ridiculously early and a Saturday, I was able to catch one of the greatest spectacles China has to offer. Old people in the park. It’s a veritable summer camp for the geriatrics, and the activities are many. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve compiled my favorites into a little video below* with short explanations to alleviate any confusion.

1.) The Swing your Arms and Yell station. Reserved for only the laziest of the elderly, I wish I could say this was the most abrasive of them…
2.) This guy was actually the sweetest. The Chinese version of the hackey sack is three coins tied together with a giant feather on top. It requires a lot less Phish, and a lot more ballerina legs.
3.) Singing in unison while walking in a circle. I was invited to join in, but my inability to do both at the same time would have shamed this collective.
4.) Know your face station. This one’s all about self-discovery.
5.) Listen, I can’t explain this. And neither can you.
6.) And last but not least, the harmonica orchestra? Armed with microphones, a two man percussion section, and the dancing queen in the middle, you could literally hear them on the other side of a multiple acre park.

Below, stock photos of the parks.

Afterwards, I met up with Comrade Aaron and Comrade Gang, both of who will be shipping off soon to Anhui China to teach the glorious language of English to the countryside. After visits to the clothe making emporium and arguably the world’s largest bookstore, the eventful and exhausting day is winding down. I’m fighting the jetlag with all of might, but I think a back massage is in order. Until next time.


*note: this was very difficult, because it is China. And they still hate youtube.




4 responses

31 07 2010

Hey man,

I hope the loneliness goes away for you. Just remember that some of the greatest battles you fight in life are the ones inside of you. Go out, and talk to some strangers. You never know what they might offer. That swinging arm lady looks nice…

Also, number 5. Ya, that’s obviously an old people’s flash mob. You should have waited until they started doing thriller.

31 07 2010


3 08 2010
claire g


i want to rub my face in the park on a bright saturday morning.

5 08 2010
sarah g

“I can’t explain this. And neither can you”

Pretty sure that a old people doing a choreographed dance to Britney Spears’ “Deep in my Heart” (which was, by the way, an underappreciated deep cut from her debut 1997 album) needs no explanation.

I had no idea China was so amazing.

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