just a short ride

August 11th, 2008

I’ve been sitting at home for too many days in a row. Well, the crappy air the last several days hasn’t really inspired me to get out. Anyway, I took advantage of the relatively clean air thanks to those heavy rainfalls yesterday afternoon and all through last night and got out on the bike for a bit.

Yeah, rains which broke our phone. When the heavy rain finally made it down here the wind was coming from the south and blew the rain through the window, soaking the phone. The wind was actually blowing rain onto me even though I was two metres in from the window. Anyway, with such wind blowing so much water inside I thought it better to shut the window, but I was a little too late for the phone. Something went wrong and it was ringing continuously and all we could do was unplug it, leave it to dry out and hope that once it was dry it would go back to normal. It did.

But how could the wind be coming from the south when the rain seems to have slowly moved southeastwards from the Yanqing area, over the Jundushan (man, I pity the poor women in the cycling road race- still, it was obviously better than the oppressive, suffocating humidity the men had to race through the day before yesterday, if the much lower drop-out rate is anything to go by), across Changping and Haidian (we saw heavy rain falling on the archery competition before it had started raining here) then eventually down our way. And yet the wind was a southerly.

Anyway, the phone dried out, lzh plugged it back in this morning, and it works again.

So, I jumped on my bike and rode off for a bit of much-needed exercise. I went along the road that runs along the north side of BeiGongDa, round the northeast corner, then meets the Fourth Ring. Then I followed the Ring Road south towards the badminton gymnasium, thinking I might just have a quick peek, see what was happening. Well, the side road from the Fourth Ring leading along the south side of the campus was blocked. Anybody wanting to head west from there had to detour further to the south. Well, cars, anyway. I thought of asking the cop if bicycles were allowed to pass, but I didn’t want to stop, I had a good rhythm going at a comfortable speed, and I wanted to talk to people even less than I wanted to stop. So I cruised around and turned west at the next intersection, then took the next right to head back up towards the campus. The side road on the southern side of the street opposite the gymnasium was blocked, too. I’m sure I saw a bus coming through when I passed that road on the other side- but maybe that’s just it, public transport and authorised vehicles only. They’d have to let buses through, though, there’s a bus terminal under the western end of Sifang Qiao.

Well, I went a little further west then crossed the road at the south gate of BeiGongDa and had a quick peek back at the badminton gym. Didn’t see much happening, and didn’t really feel like going any closer. It was, after all, half past one in the afternoon, when sane people are at home enjoying their siesta. So I took off westwards and crossed Huawei Qiao, went up past the fancy hotels and “antique markets”, past the dormant construction sites, then northwards up through the Panjiayuan and Jinsong to Shuangjing, thence eastwards across Shuangjing Qiao and past the Shuangjing branch of Carrefour which is actually at Jiulongshan to Xidawang Lu, thence home. Nothing to report. Apart from all the Olympic volunteers, banners, and flags- including one IOC flag and one Beijing 2008 flag, which made a nice break from the endless rows of five-star red flags- it was Beijing as per normal.

Maybe that’s a strange statement, but that’s what I saw. Ordinary, everyday middle Beijing as she always is. Tarted up in her Olympic clothes, for sure, but still, the same old Beijing I know and love.

Oh, and lzh is happy that I finally found the branch of 老诚一锅 we’ve known for ages was somewhere nearby, but which we’d somehow never managed to find.  So, dinner tonight is going to involve a bike ride back over to Huawei Xili.

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