Monday, September 15: I wake up before dawn, as I do nearly every day. Usually I lounge around in my pajamas, drinking coffee, looking at blogs or Facebook, reading, or just generally being lazy. But this morning, I get up soon after the sun rises and walk to Guangxi University‘s East Campus. I live and work on the West Campus, so until yesterday, when I got access to a colleague’s bicycle, I hadn’t yet visited the East. After my little bike ride, I figured out the lay of the land, so I set off on foot this time.
Upon first entering the East Campus, I see this official-looking building looming over me.
My thought is that an early morning walk will be cooler and the light will be softer than the harsh midday light. After all, what time of day is better for photos than sunrise or sunset? I’m wrong on both counts. Though it’s only 79 degrees F, the humidity is 94%, with rain predicted. This makes for a warm & muggy experience, as well as a hazy sky.
I see this other building, with palm trees in front, and a bicycle rickshaw zipping past.
I like the look of this wrought iron fence with tendrils of vines bearing yellow flowers.
The colorful flags on this building seem a cheerful welcome to the incoming students.
Near a lotus pond, I find this rock carved with some mysterious message.
I come upon this curvaceous walkway. You might not know it from this picture, but there are hundreds of students queuing up at various buildings, for what I don’t know. This East campus seems much busier than my quiet part of the West campus.
I think one set of parents, standing here looking over the pond, must be hesitant to leave their child behind.
I’m so disappointed by the haziness, and now I’m soaked in sweat. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this humidity.
I stop to catch the curvy walkway in the other direction.
A pretty little monument juts out into the pond from a small peninsula. I’m not sure what the monument signifies.
I keep walking until I walk right out the East Gate. I see a Kentucky Fried Chicken, food carts, a guy reclining on his motorbike reading the newspaper, and the hustle and bustle of Chinese commerce.
Then I enter once again through the East Gate.
Two ladies are doing their exercises on the little peninsula, and I try to capture them across the pond. Across the street from them is a huge athletic field, where people are out in droves exercising. Students are playing basketball; others are doing exercises on simple outdoor “machines.” I can’t figure out a way to take pictures without being really obvious, so I don’t.
I take a little path around the pond and I can see a bridge crossing over the lotus pond.
I pass by a young Chinese couple facing each other. The boy looks sheepish as his girlfriend tries to rearrange his hair.
A big blue Red Bull tent is set up, probably from this weekend’s welcoming activities, and beside it is a wall painted with the Red Bull emblem, as well as some Chinese characters.
Finally, I head back to my familiar West Campus, where I pass another huge athletic field. People here are walking or running around a track, doing aerobics classes to some high-energy tunes, exercising on basic metal ellipticals painted in primary colors, or doing Tai Chi. A grandfather has put his little grandson up on a set of monkey bars, and he does pull-ups while chatting with his grandson. It’s a friendly environment and people here seem serious about their physical fitness. I never saw this in Korea or Oman, so I’m happy to see the Chinese people taking their health seriously.
By the way, on one of my earlier walks, I made it a point to see if I could find even one obese Chinese person, and I came up empty-handed. I hope all this Chinese food and perspiration will be good for my weight loss regimen. 🙂