Damp Games

Chengdu yesterday was in the midst of what our beloved meteorologists in Bangalore might call a ‘depression.’ And depressing it was too. Dank, dark and damp, it just grew progressively worse.

Yoke and Birdy had the brilliant idea of playing some badminton in the evening. Yoke was away in the afternoon at the PSB, but returned soon enough. By then Dawei, Birdy and I had already made our way to the university main gate.

A rather lopsided view of the main entrance to the secondary campus

The campus we are in is not the main campus – that is some 40 minutes away by bus. The main gate I am referring to is just the secondary campus’ main gate. It’s around a 5 minute walk from the international students’ building where I stay. The gym here is huge with basketball, table tennis and badminton courts. The woman at the counter told us it would be RMB8 for an hour of badminton. We paid up only to realize that she wouldn’t provide us with the racquets. Bugger. We make our way back but Yoke is a persistent chap. He knows of this sports shop where they sell cheap racquets. The sports shop wasn’t cheap, but we found some racquets in the supermarket.

RMB28 for two. That would do for us very nicely. Walk back again to the gym in by now heavier rain. For some crazy reason, we decide to sneak past the woman, and not pay the RMB8 for using the courts. Yoke is not too happy with that. I don’t know why but sometimes I think it’s fun to be a little dishonest. Not much, just a little, so that you don’t do the really dishonest things. Once there, waif-like Dawei has an almighty swing with his racquet and the poor thing just crumbles. Not Dawei, but the racquet. We watch in bemusement as what looks like a sturdy thing just twists and bends into a pathetic sunflower imitation in plastic. Passionate man, our Dawei underneath all that fluff and snow and all that butter won’t-melt-in-my-mouth air he has around him. Back again, in heavier rain to the supermarket. It takes a while, but they take back the broken racquets and give us new ones. By now, wet and soggy, I am in no mood to trudge back again to the gym – and we slosh back to the apartment.

Just how do you pass an afternoon in China? On a wet, cold rainy day, just step out, wander here and there with some indefinite purpose, dawdle a bit, get soaked and return with nothing accomplished. Yup. My kind of afternoon.

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