Monday, October 7, 2013

China recap: A morning in the park in Xian

While I was insanely disappointed when the Beijing marathon last year was cancelled, I decided to pack my running stuff anyway.  I knew I would be running a marathon in November, and I like running when I'm on vacation anyway, so I went for a run one day in Xi'an (I'd also gone running in our first stop, Beijing, on a lovely rainy and quiet morning).

Initially, it was quite unpleasant.  It was early in the morning, but the streets had plenty of traffic and the sidewalks were even worse -- lots of people, plus bikes, scooters and delivery vehicles.  And even worse, every block seemed to involve a busy street crossing, so my run was lots of stopping and starting. 

But eventually, I got to the Xi'an city wall.  When I ran next to the wall, sure, there were a few openings with lots of traffic, but for the most part, there were no cross streets. 

At one point, I went through one of the gates only to realize there was a big park on the other side full of people doing all kinds of things.  I don't know if all the younger people were already on their way to work or too busy with their own lives, or if it's just an aging population in general, but most of the people I saw were much older.  Of the younger people I saw, most of them were running like me.

But within about 15 minutes, I wasn't really running, I was mostly stopping to take crappy iphone pictures and to watch.

There were people using exercise equipment.  There were people walking and running.  There were people doing calligraphy.  There were people playing pingpong.  There were people doing tai chi (or something similar).  There were people doing choreographed dances -- some with fans, others with swords.  There were people playing cards.  There were songbirds in pretty cages. 

Thought I'd share some pictures. 

Two separate groups here, in the center of the picture fans, and a different routine to the right, also done with fans.

Rows and rows of pingpong tables, mostly in use:

Calligraphy with water that was quickly drying as he went:

Many people doing routines in what appeared to be silk pajamas:

This guy was old and his leg was on the level with his head:

Sword group:

Where everyone leaves purses and jackets and bikes:

Badminton between two younger women:

Love this one in particular:

So many bird cages!  So nice to hear:

Playing cards and not exercising:

Looking at something hung along the wall, not sure if it was poetry, pure calligraphy, or some kind of information:

I do not believe I am physically capable of getting into this position, certainly not capable of holding it:
An interesting committment to public fitness by whoever provided the equipment -- presumably the national or local government, but I have no idea. 


  1. You took some amazing photos of daily life in Xian. I'm so sorry I've been such a bad blogging buddy these last few months. I'm going to make a point to be better, because I miss reading about your life, and connecting with you.