20 August 2011

Vacation Packing

T-shirts, check.  Sneakers, check.  Toothbrush, check.  For my recent trip to China, considering I pack only the night before, I did OK.  Somehow I managed to bring along everything I thought I would need for the trip.  Still, I have always wanted to write things down and check them off as I pack, so I finally put it all down in the Google sheet below, incomplete of course:

Qaptain Qwerty Vacation Packing

What I forgot to pack was dedication.  The determination to run during the vacation.  Granted it was a bus tour such that once the tour began there's nothing you can do but go along with the tour.  Most nights we got to the hotel late, when the pool or gym was already closed.  There was much walking or standing during most tours, but intentional exercise is always better than the walks during the tours.

I should have treated the vacation the same way I do with a typical day.  Get up early enough to squeeze in a run or whatever, shower, then go to work, or in this case,  join the tour.  Instead, I came up with excuses and did not run a single day during the whole 10-day trip.  Twice I did get up early but only managed a walk, which I think is good enough.  In the five Chinese cities that I visited, running is not that popular, or at least street running is not.  During the two walks as well as other times on the bus, I saw at most two different runners actually running as an exercise.  There were other people running, but only briefly to arrive at a bus stop or some similar destination.  Maybe people run at night when I already checked into the hotel, or in some public park that I did not know of.

Too bad I didn't manage to run, as the typical block in the visited cities are extra long compared to New York City.  I would call them super-blocks.  There were no individual homes, only large and tall buildings surrounded by walls.  There were some areas that have family homes, maybe at most three stories tall, but those buildings too were enclosed by some walls, again, long block.  I love the long blocks as that means less interactions with vehicular traffic.  Some of the cities even have footbridges, something I think New York City can make use of.  Keep the pedestrians out of the cars' way and there is zero chance anyone will get run over.  Some of the footbridges I saw in China even have escalators, and I wouldn't be surprised if others have elevators, too.

My biggest running regret was when we were in Shanghai, on our own after the bus tour ended.  I had two chances, two mornings, to run the 1.5-kilometer distance from the hotel to The Bund, a touristy waterfront area.  Although I did not know the exact way to get to The Bund, from the hotel I could easily see the Oriental Pearl Tower, so I could not be wrong to run in that direction.  The first morning I actually got up early enough but then I was upset that the trip, as it turned out, included a side business trip about the local real estate market.  I was scheduled to babysit some kids.  Why I didn't just run and shake off the unpleasantness I don't know, but it became an excuse to return to bed.  To be fair, even if I ran, I would not made it far because that morning a really heavy rain descended upon Shanghai.  The street was flooded badly at most corners.  For the second morning, it was the day I was to fly back to the U.S. and my mind came up with more excuses.  What if I got hit by a bus so that I would miss the flight?  If I survive the impact, that is.  What if that, what if this, in the end, no run.  I should have stuck to Nike's motto and just do it.  Now I only have a big regret.

A typical super-block in a Chinese city.  Yay, long stretch of not having to watch out for cars!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you all are ok in NYC. Good thing guest like Irene does not visit too often :)
    May I suggest posting more photos and stories about your trip to China while you are waiting for Irene to leave?
    My Packing List is not as long and detailed as yours. What happened to travel light?
    Be safe and post again soon.