First of all, before I start blathering on about my weekend, watch this video. Now, I used to tell people that everyone should visit New York City at least once, but I’m beginning to think I should change my advice. That person being arrested? It’s you.
After Tai-chi practice on Saturday, I joined Daniel and Prince Roy for a nice lunch at the Yongkang Sababa. The weather was perfect for lounging and eating pitas on the veranda. We then went to check out the progress of our favorite teahouse, Wistaria. Unfortunately, not only was the old structure still closed for renovation, the opening was delayed until June. We walked up Xinsheng to its other location, in a quiet alley, and sat next to the front window, which looks out onto the small garden.
Unfortunately for us, peace and quiet was not to be had, due to a woman loudly “educating” a couple of foreigners at a table on the other side of the room. The foreigners were apparently still jetlagged from their trip. “THE TEA CEREMONY IS A CENTRAL PART OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES,” the woman orated. “IT IS SOMETHING WE PARTAKE OF EVERY DAY.” I fought the urge to shout, “ANCIENT CHINESE SECRET, HUH?” at her.
Despite the noise, the tea was very good. We got our favorite Iron Bodhisattva tea and some snacks and spent the next couple of hours chatting above the din. After night fell, we walked over to Chicago Pizza off Jianguo and took a couple of pizzas over to the Da-an Park amphitheater to eat as we watched workmen take down scaffolding from that night’s show. In the distance we could hear a constant drumming. I wondered how they could keep going without tiring out. After the pizza was gone, we walked over to take a look, and found a group of people doing Brazilian dance-fighting to a drumbeat.
The next day, Sunday, I decided to dust off the Crazy Bike, which had laid dormant in the bowels of my building all winter, and take a ride. I told myself it would be just a short ride, as I’d planned to get the Tokyo video done that day. The weather was just too nice, and it had been too long since I’d ridden. When I reached the confluence of the Xindian and Dahan Rivers, I turned west up the latter stream and crossed to the other side on the Xinhai Bridge. Then I began to wonder if they can extended the path. I told myself that I had come that far, and I might as well find out. The path ran between the train tracks and the river as I passed through Shulin, where I found that it had indeed been extended. I continued along the riverside, and found myself in downtown Yingge, across from the ceramics center. I’d set out at 1pm, and it was only 4pm, so I felt I could be back in Bitan by 7pm.
I was wrong. On the way back I began to get tired, and my knees began to ache. I stopped to chat with some drunken aborigines who having a party under a bridge, sharing a drink with them and plying them for hat-related information. I stopped on the bridge back to take pictures, and then at the site of the construction of a bridge across the meeting of the three rivers for still more pictures. At Gongguan I parked on the wooden walkway and laid on a bench to watch the stars for a bit.
It was well after 9pm by the time I got home, and after some spaghetti for dinner, all I wanted was a shower and bed. So much for productivity. Later I measured the distance I’d ridden with a map interface, which is probably not entirely accurate due to it’s straight-line distances, but it said I’d gone about 70 kilometers. It was a good ride, but I probably should have taken it a bit easier the first time out. Still, I now know that the path goes all the way to Yingge, so maybe next time I little exploring of that area would take the edge off the journey there and back.