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Journals from China-Studies Institute, Beijing

2011-09-05 Time flies in China

Wow is it really September 6 already?

I’m positive I’ve lost weight in China for two reasons. One is that the theme of this trip is turning out to be stairs. Stairs in the dorm (we’re on the 4th floor), stairs in the subways, stairs in the malls, stairs stairs stairs everywhere. The second reason is that mosquitoes have already drained me of about 2 gallons of blood, judging by my bites.


Yesterday, after having Yoshinoya for dinner (a suggestion by Katie, who, like me, comes from the Philippines), one of my roommates and I didn’t feel like going back to the dorms yet so we stopped by the “playground” beside the basketball court. When you see “playground” on the Peking University map, it never actually means playground. Sadly, there are no swings, no slides, and no monkey bars. Sometimes it’s just a large soccer field, but other times it’s a colorful array of interesting workout machines. The machines Amber and I used couldn’t even be called machines, because they were as simple as monkey bars but extremely fun and healthy to play on. There’s the equivalent of an elliptical, but instead of using a bunch of machinery, it’s just two mini swings for your feet and it does the job well. There were a number of people using the exercise machines, which leads me to believe that this simple and ingenious array of devices that doesn’t use electricity at all is probably the equivalent to a gym in the Philippines. I was a member of Fitness First back home, and I realize that all the machines I used didn’t even need to be machines. It makes one wonder when we stopped running outside and made things so complicated by putting numbers on hamster wheels and stationary bikes. If you grow up with a playground in your backyard and play on it every day, it would be the equivalent of going to the gym. There’s your strength exercises (monkey bars), your cardio (it’s impossible for me to walk calmly when I’m in a playground), and even core exercises (swings).

 

Rachel Go

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