Friday, March 26, 2004

Had an only in China moment today. Every once in awhile here things happen, and I think to myself that this would only happen in china, or some other equally foreign and isolated country. It happens to everyone who comes here, and it's happened to me several times. Today, me, two other americans, and three australians went to play rugby. It was my first time playing, but touch rugby was pretty easy to pick up, very similar to playing pickup football. the main sports field was closed for a track meet or something, so we decided to go to the main lawn, in front of the big Mao Ze Dong statue (it's huge, probably about 60ft tall) and right by the main entrance to camp. here is a pic of the statue with the field in front...i've wrote before about how he says hello to me every morning...

In america, if you have a lawn on a college campus, it is assumed that people will always be hanging out, throwing balls around, and playing sports on it. Seems like this isn't so true at least on this campus. Lots of people sit around and talk, or study on the lawn, but no one is doing anything active. So we get there, find an area big enought to play, and just start playing this sport that looks strange to me, and definitely looked even stranger to the 20 or 30 chinese people sitting on the lawn chatting. We played touch rugby for awhile and it started getting a little rough, so it turned to 3-second hold rugby (you have to hold onto somone for 3 seconds and they are down). That took about 2 minutes to turn into tackle rugby, and we started attracting a huge crowd. At that point, we had between 50 and 75 people watching us, stopping on their way home from class to gawk at these freakish foriegners beating the shit out of eat other. Every time we had a big tackle people would cheer and say all kinds of congratulatory stuff in chinese. One guy even brought out his camera, set up a tripod and took pictures of us for about 20 minutes. Almost the whole field was surrounded with people. It was weird, but really cool at the same time (as with so many things here). I thought maybe some of the people were just chilling and not really there to watch us, but as soon we stopped playing the whole crowd dispersed. Anyway, that was my "only in china" experience of the day.


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