This is going to be my last blog post in Harbin – and I figure I should write it now before I…study…this weekend. Finals are coming up and given that there is only one full weekend left together with all of these new friends, the sensible thing to do is study. You’ll know where to find me. In my “room.”Ok, I lie. I may not be in my room. I might be in the Harbin Institute of Technology Science Park. For those of you don’t know what a Science Park, it’s like an Arboretum of Science. If you don’t know what an arboretum is, imagine model rockets and used boosters growing haphazardly out of the ground. Now why might I be there (besides the concept itself being awesome)? There are three reasons: I’ve started jogging, I love lilacs, and Retired Chinese people are awesome.Now that the city has thawed, my friend Yibo and I have started jogging almost every night. We go to the Science Park because there aren’t as many people and it’s actually green. Which leads to the second reason: lilacs. The city flower of Harbin is the lilac and thus the Science Park (and most of campus) smells absolutely heavenly. Imagine walking out of a composition test that you just failed and smelling the scent of lilacs wafting on the warm breeze. It won’t make you feel better, but at least your misery will smell nice.What do those two reasons have to do with the third? Absolutely nothing. I’m pretty sure that what I’m going to describe happens regardless of the weather or location. Because the park has pretty broad walking paths, a wide variety of citizens come out and get their exercise on. Some of my favorites:- A man, about 80, simply standing and punching a tree.
- A man practicing his whip skills
- A combination of soccer, badminton, and volleyball played by a bunch of retirees with more control over their body than I can ever hope to have.
- Latin dance night, every day 7pm-9pm.
- Coordinated speed walking teams
- Saxophonists in pajamas.
If it comes down to it, I plan on being the guy who punches trees when I’m older. Perhaps even join up with whip man and we can take on all of the evil doers, like those rascally teens who skate backwards and disrupt games of net-less badminton.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of all these people, but I will leave you with some pictures that hopefully convey a little bit of summer in Harbin.