Near by where we live, I feel like the only woman who runs in China. I get a lot of "Are you crazy?" looks as I pass on by for a variety of reasons. The Chinese turn to other philosophies to maintain their health like tai chi. So I gather the disapproving looks might even be, "Why is this Chinese looking women running?!"
A typical run usually consists of a loop along side the cleanest canalway in the city. Cleanest isn't saying much here! The water - opaque, murky with a greenish brown hue - isn't the most inviting. I extend runs by crossing over a bridge to get to the largest city park (347 acres). We have the -ests here since Pu Dong is less populated and more recently developed than Pu Xi.
Swimming in the canal is a common thing, but shocking to us Americans and the locals when we tell them about it ("What! They swim in there?"). Some mornings, there's a steady stream of swimming caps that go back and forth. Running along last Sunday, a man shot me a double take as he stepped into canal in his speedos, flippers and cap. What a moment. We were both confused about the other's activity.
After this, I took a detour to the large plaza area around the Science and Technology Museum. This afforded me the opportunity to get a glimpse into how some Chinese spend a sunny, lazy Sunday afternoon. People watched as rollerbladers of all ages practiced maneuvers around small cones, a group of teenagers had a game of street hockey going, and kite flyers showed off their skills. Dozens of large kites in vibrant colors - some designed to look like butterflys and birds - flew hundreds of feet effortlessly in the sky. Vendors sold their roasted sweet potatoes and corn. One puffed furiously on a cigarette as he placed corn in a small oven on his cart. Running through the crowds, I was already looking forward to walking out there with Josh on another weekend to do some people watching.
How did I finish my run on this pleasant Sunday afternoon? A quick stop at the Hofbrauhaus to enjoy a (very small) tasty wheat beer with some friends. I don't plan on polishing off a beer after every run, but this was the perfect day to indulge. I raise my mug to more interesting and fun runs!