What a good day I had today. It started at 6am when a colleague of mine and I hopped on the rusted cruiser bikes and navigated our way to the Forbidden City. We knew which direction it was but did not know exactly how to get there so we set off on the bikes in search for our final destination. Now, one thing I should note is that we left at 6am on a Sunday in Beijing to try to miss a lot of the traffic and while it proved to be a smart idea, there was still a lot of traffic on the way there and back. By the way, Beijing has a fairly good bicycle commuting presence but I will say that even though they have bike lanes beside the car lanes, it does get a bit hectic at times. You have to be sure to be a defensive rider and always pay attention.
Of course this is hard to do because all of the great things to look at but we managed to arrive back to homebase unscathed after being on the bikes for over an hour. I am glad that I know my way around cycling on roads with cars though...
As we were riding trying to find the Forbidden City, a Chinese man pulled up beside me on his bike and said "hello". I immediately said "Ni Hao" (hello in Chinese) and learned that he knew a little broken English. We chatted for a while and although I could not understand everything he was saying, I did pick up that he was an avid cyclist (as I could tell from his bike which was 10 steps up from my rusty single-speed) and was out for a morning ride. I told him where we were going and asked if he knew where we turn. In about 100 meters he came to a halting stop in the middle of the road and pointed down another road that we needed to turn on. I thanked him for his generosity and wished him a good day.
We made it to one side of the Forbidden City and I was amazed at the outstanding architecture from the moat surrounding the very tall and steep walls surrounding the City to the intricate details of the buildings inside. Enjoy the photos below.
After our adventure of finding our way back, I visited one of our chiropractors for some grastin treatment (I have been getting my Achilles worked on and this grastin thing is simply amazing...I am optimistic that I will be running in the near future if I continue this) and then I was off for my second visit to the Olympic Village. My first visit was nice but it was the second day that it was open and there wasn't much happening. This visit was the complete opposite. There were athletes in abundance from everywhere in the world. I conducted my assessment of the dining hall menu and loved observing the different nutritional practices of different nations. Dare I say that McDonald's was extremely popular although the rest of the food from the hot and cold lines appears to be very well liked also.
I toured a bit of the Village on my own and was quickly reminded of my days in Gainesville, Florida. The heat and humidity were high and I was absolutely drenched by the time I had finished walking outside for only 1 hour. It was like being in an oven while being continually sprayed with water. Yeouch it was warm!
I quickly sought air condition relief in our USA bus and took it back to where I am staying. A quick trip to the pool to help out and then a quick strength training session and I was back in my room doing laundry in my bathroom. My room looks like a dry cleaners with clothes hanging anywhere and everywhere! We have access to washing machines but it is just as easy to wash them with soap in my bathroom...plus I save money!
As I sit writing this blog, I have my blanket covering me trying to keep warm as my A/C is cranked up full blast in an effort to dry my clothes faster. I have noticed it takes about 12-16 hours for clothes to dry in my room. Gotta love humidity...
That's about it for now...until next time!