Travel Diaries, Uncategorized

21.6.18

Shit, how has it been a month since my last post? I’m starting to understand why some adult elder people wish they did a lot more with their lives rather than work day in day out. Time really does flash before your eyes like a bolt of lightning.

I feel like I have lots to tell you but my memory is appalling so I’m comparing and contrasting my previous blog post so that I don’t repeat myself.

First of all I promised I would let you know about the 10k race I took part in. I had the support of Tian on the day, we woke up crazy early like 5:30 because the course was an hour away from the city, and you never know what Beijing traffic is like no matter the time of day. Luckily we drove onto the highway and breezed our way to Changping with ease and arrived super early to the event. The reservoir was incredibly peaceful before the race which gave me a chance to sit myself down and have a pre-game chat with my legs. “You will run this 10k in 55 minutes, you will” – chanting this over and over again quite like that moment in the real-life version of Peter Pan when Tink is going to die and Peter is crying and sobbing “I do believe in fairies, I do, I do.”

The countdown ends and my legs begin to move, how quick I’m not sure because I don’t have my headphones with me. I’m running across the bridge and to my left I see a declining hill… my first thought was “a hill in Beijing?? wtf??” my second thought was “I’ve got to run back up that fucker right before the finish line… I’m gunna die!”

I was running amongst a mass of Chinese people, obviously, but I was also tailing a couple of Westerners. Towards the end of the race and when I approached that fuck off hill I’m pacing a guy who was British which made me feel super happy and calm. I’ve no idea why but just hearing a British accent when you’re surrounded by Chinese people and Americans is like a breath of fresh air… breathing fresh air… lol I can’t even remember how that feels. As I’m pushing my legs for the sprint finish the British guy bumps into me and apologies and he then encourages me to sprint harder and we cross the line together. It reminded me of how stereotypically caring we British people are.

I finished the race in 49:53 which was a personal best and a sub 50 which I’m so happy with, then I came to find out I was the 10th woman in the race which is pretty awesome.

Tian took me Go Karting a couple of weeks ago, and baring in mind I’ve never sat in a driving seat before, I was well and truly shitting myself. As we slowed near the helmet rack I was adamant that I was not going to do it, despite just paying a wod of money for 14 minutes. We shoved our helmets on and began walking into the track where 3 women stood ready to get into a car too… I could feel a Jodie Strop coming on. Now for those of you that don’t know what that is it’s where I begin by saying “nope I’m not doing that” or “no I can’t do that” and the more people try to encourage me the more stubborn I get. I pull a face, sulk and get very close to stamping my feet. Jodie Strops have existed from a very young age and quite evidently still occur at 21. Tian got into the car in front of me raring to get going, however I slowly eased myself into the car repeating the phrase “I’m not doing it, I’m not doing it”. When the guy gestures that I should go I pressed my foot on the accelerator and jerked forward and almost shouted “NOPE NO WAY”.

It took 4 laps of a sunken, “face like a slapped arse” before I actually began to enjoy it. In the end I thoroughly destroyed Tian and lapped him twice.

We just got back from Seoul in South Korea which was a great 4 day break from teaching crazy children all week. At the top of my list of things-to-do in Seoul was visiting the Racoon Cafe super close to the hotel. We bought an admission with a free drink that I decided to collect after I’d given the animals lots of love. There were 4 racoons and 5 dogs, all of which looked fucking fed up of people petting and prodding them all day. I gave the bulldogs a good scratch on their bloated tummies, almost got bitten by a racoon and decided that animal cafes are actually super morbid and sad. So I grabbed a green tea then headed for the elevator with Tian and Lee (his friend from the south of China). We descended in the tiny lift with not much room to budge and a hot drink in my hand, it stopped and opened to two people who entered close to me. I tried sipping my green tea but it slipped and fell to the floor and scolded the feet of this poor woman. She and her boyfriend stepped over the boiling puddle and exited the lift. I felt terrible.

As guilt was taking over my entire body we drove into the Myeon-dong area, home to the N Seoul Tower. We parked up and climbed to where the entrance to the cable cars were… our mouths dropped. The line was fucking huge – bending around two floors of the building in front of us and then backing all the out onto the street to where we stood. At first we accepted that there was a long line of people at sunset on a Saturday wanting to get to the highest peak in the city, BUT an hour and 10 minutes in and I was getting pretty aggy. To make things worse when we got the to the top of the hill and approached the queue for the tower the guy (kindly and empathetically) told us it would be yet another 90 minutes to get up there. We settled for a quick look then felt that hunger was more important than a sky high view of a city twinkling in the night time.

The food we tried in Seoul was so good and I managed to avoid meat too which was great. At 12:30am before the 3am England game Tian and I wanted some food, we had little hope that many places would be open. We wandered down the street and I spotted a Tofu place, winner winner vegetarian dinner. In most traditional Korean restaurants you order a main dish like a small boiling pot of tofu or noodles that nest on a bed of ice, then you get several small dishes that you are able to top up as you wish. I won’t lie, the free top-up dishes were actually the best part of the meal – there were marinated mushrooms, soybean sprouts covered in a mayo-type dressing and… KIMCHI. Now i’m not 100% sure what it actually is, and didn’t realise I was eating kimchi until I had it 3 times. Here is the real definition: a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chilli powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood).

lol shit i just realised it’s not vegetarian. fuck.

Kick-off for the England-Tunisia game in South Korea was 3fuckingAM. 3am. I thought perhaps we’d share a bar with at least one other England fan, but nope just me, Tian and the barman. Poor sod had had a long day after the South Korea game and stayed open just for me. It’s a good thing we bloody won aye.

5 weeks until I’m in England. I can almost taste the fucking roast potatoes and gravy.

 

JMW x

 

 

 

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