In this month’s episode of Emily versus Asia, I feel that I may not have come out on top! Between a scooter run-in, literally, and my first ski trip in China it has been a true adventure to say the least.
Now, back to the scooter incident. It happened as I innocently walked myself to Starbucks and onward to work. I assumed the riskiest part of my day would be the taxi ride and was unprepared for the sheer impact of a scooter to my right leg as I crossed the street. Yes, you read that right; a scooter ran into me, and yes I had looked both ways before crossing the street. How he didn’t see me I can't fathom, it's not like I blend in. The poor older Chinese scooter man definitely came out worse for wear – I suppose that happens when you hit a Canadian wall. In a nutshell: I was hit, the bike skidded on to its side, the man fell of, the empty water bottles went airborne, and I remained standing – much to the dismay of onlookers.
The natural progression from a near-death scooter encounter is to the mountainous slopes of China. Yes – I did it - I skied in China. It was so much more than I expected. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed when the chairlifts turned out to be new age. What was lost in the new lifts was gained in my ancient pair of rental skis. Bambi on ice is a fair analogy but my confidence was quickly boosted once I realized people were standing on the side of the runs taking photos and shouting hen hao (very good in Chinese!) – I am guessing they hadn’t seen many professional skiers on their slopes. Confidence boosted I thoroughly enjoyed the two-days of skiing in Beidahu. The place reminded me a little of eastern Canada in terms of landscape but earned its merit on culture and uniqueness.
From the slopes of China my next calling lead me to Kuala Lumpur for the weekend and my good friend Izzana’s brother's wedding engagement. What a wonderful affair – and only one slight “blonde/foreigner” moment when I over-served during the traditional sugar spooning ceremony - oops. The event was lavish and beautiful. The people were warm and welcoming. During my stay I managed to also sneak in a great pizza bbq party with a random friend I met on the plane. I relished the morning runs around the park, even in +38. I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to share in such a special family event and to meet so many wonderful people; I sometimes wonder if these amazing introductions to the world’s great people will ever end – I truly hope not.
My final adventure of the last couple months brought me back to Thailand - along with my great friend Erin and her brother Danny. Highlights include: scooting, relaxing, fisherman’s village, spas, breakfast, beach, sleeping outside and pina- coladas. It was really a time for rebooting the system. Work had been stressful and intense. I was a little burned out and I needed a forced relaxation – all of this of course in preparation for the Rugby Hong Kong 7’s where I undid all the good I had gained.
Hong Kong lived up to and easily surpassed all expectations. It is a city where the west truly meets the east. I loved the greenery contrasting with the huge skyscrapers and surrounding concrete jungle. Although the weekend was only an initiation to the city, I relish going back. The Rugby was amazing. It is on par if not above the Stampede for vibe, craziness and party. Where it trumps the Stampede is in the amazing costumes and outfits, which are embraced and touted throughout the weekend. I fell in love with the rugby. I embraced beer and I believe that I did an “okay” job of representing Top Gun in my overly small and excruciatingly short costume! The weekend of fun calls for detox but definitely not regret!
Life in the city of Shanghai is great. I love the city more and more every day. I can’t wait for summer and the sun, patios and fun. In replacement of sport I am trying to discover and embrace Chinese art. In return for bad air quality, I receive culture and the people of this chaotic and diverse city. There is beauty and uniqueness around every corner and as I slowly get my head around Mandarin I feel another door opening. China has to be one of the most complex and intricate cultures alive. A system governed by tradition and oppression is changing and evolving into a new identity and society. It is truly amazing to be part of this transition and dynamic.
As always I am so grateful for this opportunity. For my friends and family in my life who support all my craziness and to my new friends for embracing me and taking care of me.
Although I am having a great adventure I miss you all. I miss my friends and family. I miss the mountains and the activity. You are often in my mind and hope that wherever you are in the world life is great.