Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Biggest Loser

I went running for the first time this morning. I only accomplished an embarrassing 1.5 miles or so, but it was more of an exploratory voyage anyway. Half of Victoria park (a convenient 2 block from my house) is devoted to an asphalt field where it seems people play soccer/football and the remainder is greenery, paths and playgrounds. There is a 600m jogging trail that is pleasantly shaded by trees and winds through the better looking half of the park. You have to follow the direction of the signs, which made me think it would be easy to zip through at your own pace, but it seems that some Chinese like to run in packs (it didn't even seem like they all knew each other) and they like to do it at a snail's pace. That's why I ended up stopping, because they were blocking the whole trail.
To my surprise, Victoria Park was PACKED with people exercising, and not just joggers. There are all these mini playgrounds for adults dotting the green part of the park, with various exercise apparatus. Some have handles on springs that you can use to work your arms, some have pull-up bars, some have benches with a bar on the end to hold you feet for sit-ups. There were lots of old people and middle-aged people using these. There was also a strong contingent of tai chi practitioners and an extraordinary number of fan dancers. Or maybe using fans is an option in tai chi - the movements looked very similar. There was even a trio practicing ballroom dancing (yes, it was kind of awkward with 3 people).
And although the women were uniformly in long pants and long-sleeves, the men were almost equally uniformly in booty running shorts and no shirt.

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