Apr 16, 2012

We found singletrack and ancient chinese town..

The days are getting warmer, our time here is coming to a close, and adventures around Yongchuan are blooming. I miss many things about Vancouver (especially, my SUP fitness and paddling) but we have found some new  excitement around these parts over here. I think we may end our time here on a little bit of a high.

Our co-workers told us that the local circus was in town and I was all over for going to see it. There has always been and always will be a little part of me that wishes I put the effort into trying to get into the circus world. Being an ex competitive gymnast, I have developed a real soft spot for the circus and so was pretty into trying to go see a real chinese circus. Our friends bailed at the last minute but Andrew and I still wanted to go and so we did. Upon arriving into the back alleys of the electronics store section of Yongchuan we found ourselves entering a small round circus tent with shady seats and a rugged cage. The crowds were filing in and the place was packed. The entrance fee was a mere 15 RMB (2.5 CAD dollars), bargain!. I think we were the opening act without wanting or meaning to be: the people were thrilled that some foreigners came to watch the circus and even the performers were dancing with excitement at our presence.. Our little act of being ourselves and not acting strange earned us some free popcorn and a high five! The show was amusing and very amateur but I really enjoyed it. The acrobatics although not executed perfectly were very impressive on the ragged old looking equipment and over conrete non the less. This circus also had animals, a rare event back in the western world. I had never been to the circus with an animal show and not surprisingly was a little disturbed by the experience. I am proud though, that we as a human race have put a stop to the animal cruelty in western circus shows! I am sure eventually China will do the same?!?

Saturday morning after a huge breakfast of egg, veggie scramble and coffee, and after some cleaning and chore type things we headed out for a what would have been a typical long run up our regular dirt road up Tea Mountain... Once we made it to a certain intersection Andrew mentioned that maybe we should explore a possible route down a different valley to a farm house he once noticed on google map. I am always up for exploring and adventure and figured this would add to our long run rather then take away. We were off on a fairly well beaten in single track through an old forest fire area. Like most tracks we have found in China this one came to a sudden stop in the middle of nowhere.. but we were determined to find a way to get through and so pushed on bushwacking through dead, spiky bush... We found paths here and there and eventually made it to a small peak where we could see over some hills to the next valley over. We managed to find some old tracks up on the peaks and followed those up and down small peaks but they lead to nowhere in particular. THEN, we spotted a potential track down on the bottom and to the left. We were pretty high up at this point with no trail in site... We did the obvious thing and just started bushwacking back straight down the face of the hill hoping we would avoid any cliffs. We eventually found the other end of the original trail that would have connected us without the bushwack and a cool little dirt road leading to the trail we saw from the top of the hill. We followed this trail, a smooth singletrack all the way to a giant statue I have been eyeing for the last month or so. This statue is located in a newly built park for the locals, with a man made lake (Fairy Lake) and lots of benches and paths. It is not too far from our regular running Lake (Pheonix Lake) closer to town. We grabbed some drinks and pineapple and finished off the last bit of running... A total of about 3 hours out and about 2.5 running hours. Not too bad for an intended 2 hour plain long run. We are hoping to head back in there with our bikes and test out the singletrack on our chinese ghetto mtn  bikes!

Saturday night we headed over to a co worker's house warming where I enjoyed Brie Cheese! I am sure I am going to be fat from cheese when we return to CAN...

Sunday we got out on the long anticipated  ride to Songji, a new toursist attraction in Chongqing area. Songji is known for a preserved ancient town situated on the banks of the Yangtze River. We have been waiting for the right weekend to head out on our bikes to explore this ancient town. It took us about 2 hours each way, mostly on nice country roads. The beginning and end were on bigger roads but it wasn't too bad at all. The bigger roads in China are kind of awful for biking as there are a plethora of huge, dirty, loud trucks, and a very small shoulder. I always it enjoy it when we find quieter country roads to ride our bikes. We arrived in time to enjoy our pre-made PB and Jam sandwhichs and fresh local strawberries. We then went off to explore the town.... The old town is definitely in a funny stage of  someone trying to make it "nicer" by adding ugly fake things to the rugged old falling down houses...very chinese indeed. I enjoy the narrow corridors and uneven stones walkways of the ancient towns in China (yes, we have explored a couple already). The afternoon sun was beating on us so we escaped to a local restaurant for some shade and food. Here we caused some chaos for being white (people were sooo curious about us) and we also met Tremor a very nice english speaking Chinese man. He ended up buying us lunch and in return we went for a walk along the Yangtze River with him to chat! It was very pleasant. On our ride home we got a big wave from our new friend, Tremor who was on the bus riding home to Yongchuan! We managed to get back to Yongchuan  in time for evening coffee, an episode of House (I am very very addicted to this show at the moment),  some laundry, dumplings by the University, and a little shopping at a local street store. Along with the TV series House I am also obsessed with 2.5 dollar tank tops! Its a phase....

I feel happy with the amount of "training...playing outside" we managed to get in this weekend. My thoughts are already working beyond the Great Wall Marathon in May and into summer and SUP racing. I want to be fit and ready to be back on top in that sport... It is difficult when I am unable to train the specific sport but when I look back to when I first started racing in SUP back in 2010 it was my general fitness that helped me along.....only time will tell!

A solid weekend of playing in the sun, eating good food, meeting new people, and experiencing new places and events. 10 weeks to go until we are back in the land where we can communicate with the local folk! ha

more pics on flickr

live, love, laugh,,...DREAM!

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