When i last wrote, we were preparing for Chaoyang Park. We had a small picnic, played lots of frisbee and several rounds of Beer Fris, during which Jehan proved he is a dominant force. The Chait and i lost our first game against Jehan and Matt and won the second. In both games, we were down 10-6 (game to 11, win by 2), before tying the game to force overtime. In the final game, as the light faded, we were down 11-10 before hitting a 3-pointer to win 13-11.
However, for once, us foreigners with our frisbees and our beers and our weird games and big noses were not the center of attention. It was instead a group of Nordic (Dutch or Swedish, maybe?) Funkercisers, which google tells me is a term i just made up. That would be exercising by doing funky dance moves to music. I caught it all on camera. There were just three to start, but 30 minutes in, they had a following.
On Monday, we spent the better part of the day hiking Phoenix Mountain (Fènghuáng Shān), in northwest Beijing. We met Andy and Talia in Wudaokou and began the 1 hour journey by bus. It's hard to imagine Beijing is surrounded by incredible wilderness and natural beauty, and doesn't take long to escape the insanity of the city center. Apparently, locals know this as well, as there was no solitude to be found here. Hordes of people gathered here to hike on the holiday weekend. Still, it was good exercise, and the mountains were beautiful, but it just didn't feel right. Maybe it was the dilapidated buildings at the base of the mountain that remained in view, no matter how far you hiked. Or maybe it was all the yelling.
We never found out why, but for some reason, when the Chinese go hiking, they need to occasionally shout at the top of their lungs. Of course, if one person does it, many more join in. Soon, you have a chorus of Chinese people who sound like they are all in distress, shouting whatever important information they need to convey to everyone within earshot. We found this puzzling.
Anyway, beautiful place, might not go back, but glad we went.