Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday swim

A really good one, too - crowding is back down to a more manageable level. I do not mind swimming with three or even four other people who are swimming sensibly, it's just when it's 5+ in the lane with one or more wayward swimmers that it gets too crazy for me!

8 x 100 warmup: odds free, evens (by 100) as breast pull/dolphin kick, back, fly drill, back

6 x 50 fly down, easy free back on 1:30

100 back

100 free

100 back

100 catch-up

100 free

Something like that, anyway: call it 1600 yards total.

And Peter Hessler's very delightful New Yorker piece on his Beijing Olympics trip is now available online in its entirety. The whole thing is well worth reading, but this bit particularly charmed me (the Wei family are friends of Hessler's from the country town where he regularly stays, and Wei Jia is their eleven-year-old son; the family accompanies Hessler to see an Olympic rowing event):
There was a brief rainburst and the family sat happily in their free ponchos. Rural people travel light—none of the Weis had brought anything with them, not even Wei Jia, who planned to stay with me in the city to see more of the Games. After the event, we said goodbye to his parents and got in a cab. I asked the driver to recommend a restaurant. “The Golden Million is good,” he said.

The Golden Million’s mirrored entrance was decorated with four hundred and ninety-three bottles of Old Matisse Scotch. At the center of the restaurant was an enormous tank filled with a dozen sharks, two soft-shelled turtles, and one woman dressed as a mermaid. In addition to a long mono-fin, she wore a bikini top, a face mask, and a nose clip. A sign said “THE CAPITAL’S TOP MERMAID SHOW!” The tank was circular, and the woman swam laps with the sharks and the turtles. One advantage of travelling with Wei Jia was that he often came up with the questions that I was too stunned to ask.

“Why is that lady in the water?” he said, looking concerned, when the waitress came to our table.

“It’s a type of performance,” she said.

“Why don’t the sharks bite her?”

“Because they’re full,” she said, smiling reassuringly. “If you feed them, they don’t bite people.”

1 comment:

ShirleyPerly said...

Interesting bit about the sharks. Then again, I guess that's why I want to swim with others in FL lakes and in the ocean. It's not really so much about having someone else there for company or to help ;-)