Good Morning Jinan

02:30 Paul Robinson 2 Comments

I decided to wake up early and go and watch some old chaps do Tai Chi in Quancheng Square. With sleep in my eyes and a long shadow ahead of me, I got onto my bike and set off. So early in the morning, the streets are quiet. The only vendors unlucky enough to have to work this early are the Welfare Lottery sellers, even the food and drink vendors are still in bed. 

Daily exercise is an important part of life in China and as I cycled past bus stops I saw people in the queue stretching their calves and hips. Before visiting the main square, I went to the river that runs alongside it. Here at 6.20am, I found lots of people already swimming in the spring. From all the 'whooping' I heard at the edge of the water, I'm guessing it was pretty cold.

I then headed off to the main square. Cities in China are brimming with little parks and squares with areas for exercise. As I walked round I saw some pensioners stretching their feet above their head and others doing chin-ups. If there was an OAP-lympics China would definitely win a clean sweep of medals.

The park was alive with people doing lots of different activities. I saw people playing badminton and the big open spaces were already beginning to fill with men flying their kites. There were also people practising kung fu against trees and playing the ever present game of footsac. I could also hear the occasional bellow as people exercised their vocal chords.

The main thing I went to see, Tai Chi, was a bit limited. I was expecting a huge turn out and someone barking out instructions with a megaphone. It was actually a lot more chilled out. People do this for enjoyment, its not a drill or a chore.

 Back by the water, people were already out fishing. I hadn't noticed before, but the water is actually clear and you can see the fish and the vegetation. It must be the only unpolluted thing in the whole of Jinan.

At 8am my breakfast was calling me so I headed back home. By this time the morning commute had started and the streets were full of bikes, cars and buses. Cycling in convoy with all the other bikes was quite good fun. I felt like was involved in some mad dash somewhere. I'm new to cycling in China so my head was constantly spinning round to check what's around me. I noticed that most Chinese don't bother with such complications. For them their main tactic seams to be 'eyes ahead and meander'.It was a challenge to constantly change speed, slip into gaps and watch out for all people, bollards and vendors that can get in the way, but I'm already looking forward to getting on my bike again.

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  1. Great read Paul, keep em coming!

  2. This is a interesting line of content, very nice article. Thanks for sharing this post, good way of bring this subject to discussion. Keep up the great work
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