Friday, 31 August 2007

Ballroom Dancing in the Park

I don't know why but I have been having so much trouble logging into Blogger due to the stupid TGF. I have all these things in my head that I want to write about but can't login. Then when I CAN get in, I forget or don't feel like writing anymore.. anyhoo. These are some posts I wrote up offline...

Sunday 26 August, 2007

Once again we had a lazy weekend and on Sunday night we decided to go out for dinner. Mike suggested Waga's again and after reading too many free city magazines about restaurant reviews, my brain was all fuzzy so I agreed. I went online and found the address of the one closest to us which was apparently in the Hongqiao/Gubei area, in Maxdo Center. We didn't know where the taxi driver was taking us but wow, it was only 1.6km away from our house! We couldn't believe it was so close. Not only that but there were many other shops and restaurants there too and the area seemed really nice. There was also a ritzy Sheraton Grand (5 star) hotel there too. So we definitely plan to go back to that area!

While we were waiting for the waitress to bring us our food, this guy started looking over at Mike, and Mike started looking at him. I wondered why the heck they were staring at each other so strangely. It so happened that they had met once before! Their companies had competed against each other at a basketball competition. Hmm... interesting. So we chatted to him for a while. He is from the States and had been in Shanghai for 8 months and lived in Songjiang (woop woop) and decided to move to Zhongshan Park.

After dinner we went across the road to Hongqiao Park (it used to be called something else, as was mentioned in Lonely Planet) where it was pitch black but the park was lit up by lamp posts. It was an interesting sight. Music was floating through the air, the air was balmy yet a comfortable 26 degrees with a nice breeze. There was a big group of middle aged and older couples and friends ballroom dancing to Chinese-style ballroom music! It was an amazing sight to see. It was one of those moments, like when I'm watching a great film where my heart just fills with happiness and content even though the event has nothing to do with me. There were many spectators like us standing around to gawk at them too.

I was just amazed by their skill, their flexibility, their agility and their smiles. They all seemed so happy. It was as if they didn't have a care in the world. Half the people were wearing very very casual clothes too. Almost pajama like, but it didn't even matter.

It got me thinking to something else I wanted to post before. At our gym there are people of all ages going there. From teens to people in their 60s or older. Many high school aged kids play basketball while the oldies play table tennis and badminton. There are also younger kids who swim in the pool or play badminton. At gyms in Australia there are no basketball courts or table tennis rooms. At my gym in Australia I would say almost everyone would be between the age of 20-35. I was a bit naive to the whole gym thing and expected to see fat, unhealthy people when I first joined. However, I was shocked to find that most people didn't even look like they needed to go to a gym! There was hardly anyone who looked overweight and certainly not many people over the age of 40.

Sport is big in Australia and most kids and teenagers are quite active in playing sport. However, after high school I think most people don't ever take it up again, at least not on a regular basis. I also think that Australians (and Westerners) are very image and self conscious. Hence the 'fat' people are too ashamed to go to the gym because they are scared of what people will think of them, which is fair enough. Also I noticed the way people were dressed at my gym, wearing the latest fancy gym clothes and name brand shoes. However, in China, no one gives two hoots about what others think (I think this is where I am very Asian as I usually don't care either).

Therefore, the fact that these dancers were old, not necessarily wearing picture-perfect clothes or shoes, not necessarily that great at dancing, didn't matter. The fact of the matter was that they were having fun and enjoying it, and being outside and getting fit. Almost everyone there (around 50-70 years of age) was slim and healthy looking. Most of the ladies were tiny. I really hope to be that happy and fit when I am their age!


Siew said...

I remember seeing outdoor ballroom dancers in Beijing; I didn't know they did it in Shanghai too! What with our upcoming tango lessons, and your enticing blog on living there, perhaps that's where we should retire...

Jen said...

I wonder where can I have the dance lessons so my husband and I may join them.