Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wurth-Thomas Reports on a Little of the Hidden Poverty in China

Christin Wurth-Thomas is competing in the women's 1,500-meter run with the semi-finals on Thursday. She shares a bit of her experiences in this Beijing update.

I have had the opportunity to explore some of China in the last few days. I went to a place called the silk market and wow it was a giant flee market. It was really quite fun though because it's like a competition to negotiate the best price.

Of course, the competitor that I am, I had a blast to see how low they would go. I ended up doing quite well. I had so much fun negotiating I almost stopped caring about the product. (I add this comment - she describes the phenomenon of the mimetic theory so well here.)

The first day my coach arrived and he took me on the streets to run, which was awesome because I had been running basically around a track and one building, feeling like a caged up animal -- so we asked for directions to a park and they lead us to somewhere around a creek. My coach first decided to wait on a corner for me and told me to run down the alley to the next bridge and come back on the other side. So I took off and as I got further along the areas surrounding me started looking worse and worse. I was surprised to see the poverty that the China government has worked so hard to hide. Being female and running by myself I was somewhat scared so when I returned to my coach after an 8-minute I explained I wasn't going back down there; so we headed a different direction.

From that point I wasn't going anywhere on my own and decided my coach could walk. Something I have done on trips in unfamiliar towns with my dad is I will run a long block, turn around, run past him, turn around and run back to the end of the long block. Usually I get in three straights while he walks one, so this was the new approach.

A few minutes later I found a great square block, where the taxi drivers took their breaks. I think I did about 5 or 6 loops to the point the taxi drivers tried to start talking to me, even though I had no idea what they were saying. After this adventure I bought a mini pink bike for my coach to ride behind me. Yesterday he was riding behind me and made the comment he never though he would have imagined riding a pink clown bike in the middle of Beijing. HAHAHA! I will have to get a picture today.

Well, my family and husband get in tonight and I can't wait. I don't have to be Harry Potter living in a cupboard under the stairwell. Somehow my roommate and I ended up getting the smallest room (we think it will be turned into the laundry room). Luckily my roommate is one of my best friends (April). If I didn't know my roommate, I would be in some serious trouble. However, it has been challenging even for us. Well, I have to go run. I will write more later.

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