Skater’s Paradise

No news since we got a new pope…and the news about him diminshed a bit. That’s mostly due to too much work, my usual complain (I mean, the few updates here, not the popes sinking into the no-news-corner). However, the bit of spare time that’s still left I rather like to spend somewhere outside the appartment (which, by the way, is a new one, I hope I can write about that one soon) than in front of my laptop. I did experience some really nice weekends, which I would have to report about here, even lots of new pictures, but you know…

And still I know that at least a few people keep checking these pages for updates. You’re tough guys, thanx for your support! I’m thinking about offering a prize for the first one who sends me a mail that (s)he read this first new article after four months. Hm, what’s about a hand-written picture postcard from Shanghai? Signed by me? That’s a real rarity! πŸ˜‰

(OK, hm…, I still did not receive a mail on this matter, but I think the prize goes to Bernd anyway as he added a comment, see below πŸ˜‰ )

Skater’s Paradise

Let’s come to today’s topic. Ironically (but, hey, isn’t that life?), the fact I can write this document is thanks to me too much working again: Theoretically I should now sit in a restaurant or dance in a bar in nice company. However, once again I missed it by preferring the cosy atmosphere of our project, consisting of the constant humming of the air conditioners, the cool light of the neon lamps, combined with the constant knowledge in the back of your mind that you’re beyond the far outskirts of Shanghai, half an hour taxi ride to the next decent bar, one hour to down-town. And your company dancing with somebody else…

And so I was back home alone at about 21:00 and decided to go out again to do some sports. I’d appreciate if anybody could do some analysis if doing outdoor sports in greater Shanghai is actually supporting or impairing human health. Certainly, doing sports generally is supportive. However, we’re in Shanghai. It’s large. It’s many people. It’s many cars. It’s a lot of pollution. Combining that you’ll cannot avoid thinking that breathing in Shanghai’s air as deeply as you do it for all sports except maybe chess is contra-productive.

And then you might have guessed from the subject that I am going to talk about Skating. The way I do it means: Go long-distance fast. The way you do it in Shanghai means: Go on the bike lanes. That’s fantastic, but the traffic is mad here. Every few hundred meters an intersection, and the fact that cars turn at their liking and without too much concern for less impressive traffic participants has already been described here. Skaters are rare, so maybe they could count as “impressive”…? But still, you better watch very well were you go… What do we like to say in Germany? “Sport is Mord.” (Sport is murder, but in German it rhymes ;-)) Well, getting killed on the street is just one way out of many…

I have brought my skates from Germany. You can get some here as well at reasonable prices. Just had the pleasure to accompany a friend finding some. There aren’t many skaters around yet, but it so happens that close to our new appartment, at the Science & Technology Museum (metro exits 1, 2, 7, 8, for those who want to get there…) there meet many Skaters, beginners and advanced alike, and perform their art on a tiled large square. Some just beginning, still a bit shaky on their brand-new shoes, others performing some tricks, yet others circling around at the outer way at comparably high speed.

That’s all nice, however, I like going longer distances than around a 400m square track.

I started late, at about 21:15, when the traffic slows down a bit and the air temperature becomes bearable. I was heading for the Century Park. Not to get actually into it, but having in mind that people like jogging around it. So I hoped I could actually skate around it. And the decision was very good…

Nearly all streets in Shanghais suburbs are wide enough to feature bike lanes. Skating on them is very comfortable. Mostly perfect flat asphalt, sometimes separated from the street, but always wide enough. I reached one of the many entries to the park, which by that time was certainly closed. But I did not want to get into it anyway. I turned left, having the park at my right-hand side. And that turned out to be the perfect decision: The park is huge. One round around it took me half an hour at considerably high speed. And running clock-wise around it had the great advantage that no streets came in from the right-hand side as there always was the park. That means no traffic light could really stop me! Chinese sometimes ignore red traffic lights anyway, and me as a skater on the right-most bike lane couldn’t care less as no traffic could cross my way. So I had an uninterrupted round on perfect asphalt, passing by a few cycles only rarely.

Only at two spots I hesitated a bit: Due to construction works the bike lane was closed. No way around: I had to get on the street! 3 lanes per direction…looking at it positively: that actually means there’s enough room for a (considerably fast) skater and a few cars, which by that time were still around. Actually: No hassle at all. I was well visible in the light of the street lamps, all cars, no matter if taxi, bus, or truck, left my lane alone and all that even without honking. Changing lanes quickly is a specialty of Shanghainese drivers… πŸ˜‰

I really enjoyed my tour, was back home after 45 mintues, soaked through by sweat, but half-way happy again that the evening was at least good for something.

Categories: Shanghai

Originally Created: 08/26/2005 04:56:38 PM
Last Edited: 09/01/2005

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