Monday, July 07, 2008

Gettin' there...

Whew. Rode a taxi to the train station, got on the train without much incident. Then got off at the wrong stop (because the speaker that announced what station was broken and it stopped at more places than on my trial run) but didn't realize it until I'd gone down a flight of stairs and up a flight to the other side. Ran back (carrying my bike bag and my full other bag) and caught the next train, looking like the sweaty crazed foreigner.

When I got to the right train station, the people there saw my bike and said that the cleaning lady has a cart, and I can use it! So she goes and gets her dolly and puts my bike on it and proceeds to take it all the way to the bus area! I kept saying, let me do it, I'll bring it back to you, but she wasn't having it. It was awesome.

The bus was fine- the only annoying thing is all the hustlers trying to get you to ride a taxi or something. Finally I gave up trying to shoo them off in Chinese so I would say in English, "I hardly understand Chinese," which is truthful, but they'd be like, "You! Taxi! $1000!" Ai-yo!

Got there early, ate my pasta salad I brought from home and put my bike together, then started trying to find a place to leave my bike, since my hotel was on the other side of the lake from the race. That was not easy. I almost started asking people if I could pay them money and park it in their restaurant, when I saw a scooter rental place, and struck a deal: I rent a scooter, you park my bike. Yes! The lady was all into it. And it turned out to be so convenient to not have to catch a shuttle bus or shuttle boat. Awesome.

I signed in and that was the confusing process... I tried to get someone to tell me, you know, what I did with my race numbers, where I would be running and what the incomprehensible race maps meant, but there was, as they say, "mei-you banfa"- no method for explaining things. But I could read enough to understand that you could start putting your stuff in the transition area (a tent where you leave your bike, shoes for the run, and if you're me, roughly half a dozen bottles of liquid and a near-equal number of food choices- because I get hungry and thirsty) at 7 and I would be in the water at 8:05. I knew some other stuff from people translating the race brochure they sent me. (Like a 1 km walk from the transition area to the swim- during which you won't have your running shoes?)

After that, it was a nice day- I drove to my hotel area, which is also in a cute little town. I walked around, got dinner at a beautiful restaurant, stocked up on water at the 7-11, and failed to go to sleep. My friends got in at like 1:30 and I still wasn't asleep! But I got to sleep soon after that.

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