Posted in Sport
Tagged nike, running
I’ve been enough places in the world now that I can see similarities between new cities and places I’ve visited before. Pyongyang has elements of Moscow and Beijing, while Barcelona had some similarities to Paris and Amsterdam. Part of this is the emergence of global culture where H&Ms, Zaras and McDonald’s are everywhere (well, obviously except for Pyongyang). The other would be the cultural influence of the Russians, the Chinese, the English, the Spanish and the Americans, where the ubiquity of these four cultures have created some elements of homogeneity or at the very least similarity across many different cities.
On the way out of the Maldives, we had a 5 hour layover in Malé City, and the resort was kind enough to pay for a guide to show us around. I’ll just say it – Malé was like no place I had ever been before. S. said “reminds me of Egypt,” the streets were very narrow. Since it was Friday in an islamic country, men were hanging out on every street corner doing what could be accurately described as “not much.” And the people hanging out were overwhelmingly male. Maybe 85%. Some were attending Friday prayers, but really most were just standing around.
Despite having lived in Hong Kong and visited Macau, I found Malé claustrophobic, but also oddly prosperous for a developing nation. I was almost hit by a Nissan GT-R. Store windows were stocked the newest iPhones, Samsung phones and full runs of Nike, adidas, Puma and lotto football boots. It was a mix of first world consumer goods and developing world markets and fishing vessels and streets.
With the May 1 holiday last week in China, I took the opportunity to head to the Maldives with my friend S. For those that don’t know, the Maldives is a series of atolls southwest of India/Sri Lanka on the Indian Ocean. Made up of over 1,000 islands, around which 200 of which are populated, the Maldives has become a famous destination for divers and honeymooners with crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and amazing ocean vistas. Its also famous for being in danger of disappearing due to climate change issues, as the majority of the country sits only 1.5 meters above sea level.
This is at the Male airport. We took a twin engined prop plane to our resort.
I’ve spent a lot of meals here in Shanghai with my friend Christina exploring restaurants and other eating adventures, so when I sent her an email complaining we hadn’t eaten together in a while, she responded that we needed to go to Tock’s a soft-opened Montreal Smoked Meats deli located near the east end of Nanjing East Road, near the Bund.
Christina, of course, had arrived ten minutes ahead of me. Because they’re still in soft opening stage, the owner was still giving out sampler platters of the smoked brisket. This is the plate that Christina left for me
I grew listening to the Beach Boys. A lot. One of the stations on my car’s radio was an oldies station, I had the Best of the Beach Boys on cassette somewhere and I still think Pet Sounds is one of the best albums ever made (and God Only Knows is one of the best songs ever written.
So when I had the opportunity to go see them live in Shanghai at the Mixing Room over at the Mercedes Benz Arena, I leaped at the opportunity.
It was great: dancing and singing along to all the old classics. I Get Around, Little Deuce Coupe, Surfin’ USA – of course most of the original Beach Boys are no longer in the Band. Someone made a quip that it really should have been Mike Love and his Band. But the melodies and harmonies were still great. Sure it was slightly cheesy, but really the Beach Boys were part of the soundtrack of my youth, so seeing them here was a lot of fun.
I spent last week in Beijing for work. I seem to always have the same conversation about Beijing and Shanghai and the contrasts between the two cities. This was amplified as we had visitors from the US who had never been to China before. Here’s some snaps from last week.
Fountain at the Grand Hyatt on Chang’An Avenue
This last weekend I was in Hong Kong to run another half marathon. This one hotter, more humid and hillier.
I have to thank my friend Abs who provided me with a couch and a place to stretch and a bunch (literally) of mini-bananas and dates and dessert and Malaysian food. She’s the best!
Here’s my pre-race packing: Miler shirt, Tempo Shorts, Two gels, Elite Support Socks, Vomero 7s. I think after running this race, I am Pegasus guy – the Vomeros are nice for training shoes, but anything over 10km and I think I need something firmer.
For my last week in the US, I spent a portion of it road-tripping up to the Pacific Northwest coast of the US – mainly the cities of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
I’ve always had a fondness for the Pacific Northwest. Maybe I like Pendleton flannel shirts and depressing music. But I think it’s more that lifestyle which is close to nature, lots of seafood and a very outdoors oriented approach that I really like.
So I got in the car with my cousin and her husband and headed up to Portland and Seattle to see a few things and to eat.
from the US Consulate in Shanghai.
Message for U.S. Citizens
As documented by official Chinese monitors and confirmed by the
Mission’s air quality monitors, air pollution levels in Beijing and many
parts of eastern China during the month of January have been extremely
high. We know that winter months typically have higher AQI readings
than other seasons and that Spring Festival Eve (February 9, 2013) may
have extremely high pollution levels due to the fireworks.
While there are many causes for the elevated air pollution levels
(including industrial and vehicular pollution and coal burning), the
region has also experienced multiple inversion weather patterns over
the past few weeks, reducing average air flow and essentially trapping
the pollution in place which contribute to the problem. Air quality
can differ greatly between cities or between urban and rural areas and
U.S. citizens living in or traveling to China may wish to consult their
doctor when living in or prior to traveling to areas with significant
The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection provides its own air
quality data for cities throughout China. You can view the information
at english.mep.gov.cn .
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing provides air quality data and additional
information about air quality on its website. The U.S. Consulates in
Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shanghai also make air quality data available.
These data are updated frequently and may be viewed from the following
* U.S. Embassy Beijing provides information about air quality data and
information about air quality
*U.S. Consulate in Chengdu air quality data
*U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou air quality data
*U.S. Consulate in Shanghai air quality data
In between trips I met up with a friend in the City and I had really wanted to go to Swan Oyster Depot. Swan is a century old institution on Polk Street. A seafood market and a lunch counter. Yes the line is long, and yes the seafood can probably be had for much cheaper at any number of places. It’ll probably be just as fresh and just as good. But there’s something so undeniably old-school San Francisco about this place; the guys that run the counter are so conversational and the atmosphere is much like a local grocer (which in fact it is a local fish monger) that I feel its worth the extra 15% in price to come and sit and eat some of the best and freshest seafood this side of Tsukiji