March 7, 2008
Shiny Black Shoes and Crickets
I go to a gym in China. I'm the only foreigner that goes, so I don't need to show my membership card, everyone knows who I am. I basically stick to the treadmill and elliptical because I'm also the only the girl that goes to this gym. I wonder if it's males-only and they just didn't have the heart to reject me in my broken Chinese? Or, perhaps they told me and I just nodded and smiled? I wonder this mainly because this week I saw something really funny.
On the treadmill I was rocking out, when a businessman walked in, in a full suit. He started to work out.. suit, tie, shiny black shoes and all. He was building up quite a sweat so he left for the locker room. He returned wearing only his long underwear and shiny black shoes! He continued to work out (through what I'm assuming was his lunch break). When he got on the treadmill next to me, I moved to the elliptical, I just couldn't do it. I could feel the laughter rising and knew I wouldn't be able to stop if I started.
This week I rode the bus to Beijing to meet up with my new (awesome) friend Katie. On the bus I sat in the very back row with two old couples. I wish I had a picture of us. 5 of us crammed into the back, me in the middle, with a couple on each side. Every time my iPod lit up (changing a song, turning up the volume) they'd lean in to see my gadget. When my phone rang they unashamedly stared as I spoke English. When I hung up the nearly toothless woman on my right nodded and said "hen hao, hen hao" (translated very good, very good). The only annoying thing about the ride was there was this consistent sound coming from the left side of the bus. Every time we hit a bump it would stop and it'd only start again when the bus slowed down or got stuck in traffic. I couldn't place the sound and even looked around to find it's source. The mystery was solved when the old man on my left fell asleep and his jacket popped open. Inside was the source of the noise..his pet cricket in a small wicker cage. The sound is apparently soothing to the ear and a source of good luck and entertainment for the older generation in China.
I love China. Today I'm exploring the hutongs of Beijing with above-mentioned Katie. We're collaborating on a Beijing Bucket list, there's so much to see in this city.