Monday, October 21, 2013

Adam Yates Goes to China. Part 2

Day 4.

Start the day with a stroll through the streets waiting for Shan. When he turns up, he takes us for some food. Funny cause in the meantime while we waited for him, Jacob went and got bulk food and had a mini feast. On the menu, thanks to shan, was lamb hot noodle soup in a sweet little ally kitchen. Best way to start the day eh, big feed of good food.   

Meet everyone in this place that's geographically the center strip of Beijing. We are starting our way towards the forbidden temple from the north. It's a killer hot day and everything is sticky! We set off and head south along the promenade and the sites of the Olympic Park and all it's stadiums are amazing. There's the Media Tower, the Water Cube, the Birds Nest and the accommodation built for all the high profile business associates comprises of 5 high-rise buildings, the 1st of which is twice the size and is oddly shaped. The 5 buildings together are  meant to resemble a dragon swimming toward Tiananmen Square. The architecture is off the hook. It's been super busy as its a long weekend to celebrate the "Mid Moon". There's people out flying kites and riding bikes. It's great to see how passionate these people are about their culture.

We skate for what seems like kilometers. Hours pass. We pass the Drum Tower, The Emperor's Garden and end up at The Forbidden City. Back in the dynasty period women weren't allowed to leave the city to find a soulmate, they were considered the property of the emperor. If he wanted them, they had no choice. If he didn't, they spent their lives in solitude never to be wed. At the end of the period there was around 1000 women and girls living like this inside the walls. Most of them chose suicide or murder if they had fallen pregnant by the emperor, to protect their newborn daughter of living in those conditions.

We didn't get to Tiananmen Square because it's getting dark and we still had to visit the first longboard store in Beijing. This is where it started to get really interesting. As if it wasn't busy enough already on the roads, it's getting dark and there seems to be even more traffic, cars, susses  bikes, carts and humans that just pop out for behind parked cars! That's another thing, car parks? Not likely! Wherever there's room, there's someone trying to force a spot, most times not even being off the road???? All this aside we belt into a shitty little alley and went right down the end. It was at this stage I would've felt uneasy if it wasn't for the company. The Longboard Store is a tiny little outfit with a shit load of gear. It's got a great variety of all boards, wheels and trucks. It was this that concreted the seriousness of the local scene here in Beijing. Great shop, great crew, great city!

Dinner is on the cards and its become part of the norm to expect something different. On tonights menu, Donkey! Fair dinkum. We were asked if we wanted to try organs or meat. Both Jacob and I were keen on meat but thought we'd sample a bit of donkey organs as well. We had Donkey meat soup, rotten egg that was cured in mud as a side, some beans, radish and slaw and a Donkey Intestine burger. Surprisingly, it all tastes pretty nice. I'd definitely try it all again!

More skating is on the cards after dinner and we head back toward the Olympic Park. They built an access road and a tunnel right in the middle as a means of accommodating the excess traffic for the Olympics and presently don't use it at all. This is Beijing's “secret” session spot as the locals put it. It's cool. Outta the way from prying eyes, and u can play longboards all night!

Get back to the hotel at 2am and after 3 days of skating in the Festival 2013 and some kilometers traveled turning wheels, we’re both cactus. Shower and hit the sack. Goodnight Irene!

Day 5.

Final day in Beijing and I'm thinking that I haven't seen this country to its full potential. There's so much out there that's assumed to be undiscovered gold. I hear of random stories from one group to the next of the surroundings of their individual cities. Good thing for me, I've made their acquaintance and we are now good friends. Offers have been thrown at us to come and visit them in their respective cities. Now it'd be stupid of me to share these places, I guess ya'll gonna have to see it as it gets uncovered  by LY. I'd like for this to be the case anyway.

As I lay here in bed, listening to Jacob snore, I can't help but think of the good times that we've had here in Beijing. Joe and Shan from XWing distribution are throwing bulk dollar into the community of long boarding, spurring growth within the country, growth such as which is primely ran by our man K  (Haohan). He represents both these brands well and together with a great support network, China's longboard scene is on the way to great things. It's already achieved so much in such a short time. It pays homage to its people, hard working at sustaining a lasting culture. These guys are the newest in this massive family of people that share a love of longboarding and its an absolute privilege to have spent this short but very intense look into their scene, their language, their culture, their country. Already lookin forward to the next time I get #dragonpitted with these guys.

Till then, it's been Niu Be!!!  Xie Xie, zai jian!  ('s been awesome!!! Thankyou, goodbye)!

Photos by: Jacob Lambert

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