How exotic can a blonde on a treadmill be?
I have been asking myself that question for the past week.
I signed up for a 2 months membership at a neighborhood gym in Beijing (yes, I am in Beijing for the next 6 or so months; more details later). It’s a great gym with all sorts of facilities, and a great membership price ($40 for 2 months!). Their trademark is asking their patrons about their zodiac signs, and then putting them on the membership cards. Here’s mine:
Just how cool is this kickboxing bull?
So yes, I am loving this gym, and it’s great to go while going to combat the stress of five hours of Chinese class five times a week. The only problem is that I attract too much attention. Other gym-goers have been randomly whipping out cameras/cell phones and taking pictures of me. Furthermore, people have been taking pictures of me at subway stations. A few days ago I got approached by a waiter at dinner who asked me if I was Russian. (Is my citizenship written in large neon letters on my forehead? I am not ethnically Russian) She explained that I am “blonde and pretty” and hence Russian.
I used to be pretty self-conscious about things like this (you know, being taken pictures of while sweaty and running that last mile), but I thankfully got over it several years ago in Hong Kong. But I still find it pretty funny.
I am really enjoying China so far, save for the going to class part (ok, ok, I do like my 25 hours of Chinese per week, but shhhh, it’s a secret). I have been experimenting with buying interesting Chinese foods a lot. This is something that they call ‘grass jelly’ in Hong Kong.
These packages come with a thick layer of plastic that takes a lot of stabbing with scissors to open. As far as I can tell, they fall into a category of Chinese dessert. And yes, I have been living without chocolate for over a week now. I have managed to track down coffee (of the instant variety, but that’s still pretty good), but chocolate isn’t available just about everywhere unlike in the westernized parts of the world. Oh well — we’ll see how long I can make it without chocolate.