Treadmill Running and Buddha

Been here in China for a week and it feels like 2 months.  A large part of it is the jetlag but the other part is that we were forced to stay at the Disneyland Hotel.  It was okay for the first couple of days but then the Mickey Mouse music, yelling children in every corner and the barrage of Disney branding no matter where the eye turned made the happiest place on earth like the 3rd dimension of hell.  After I wrote a well crafted letter to the client (Disney corporate) they decided to let us move into the city.  “I have kids and would really enjoy a stay at your hotel if I were on vacation but this environment is not a conducive work environment for a production team shooting a horror promo for the theme park, etc., etc.”  All I can say is, the approval to move came not a moment too soon.  One more round of M-I-C-K-E-Y and I might have permanently damaged my ears from screaming, “NOOOO!”

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, the humidity here is intense so I’ve been running on the hotel treadmills.  It’s really boring, but I’ve found that they keep me at a consistent pace (no breaks for traffic) and if programmed properly give me a good hill workout.  The machine tilts to some extreme angles automatically so its kind of like running on a really hilly track.  Yesterday I ran 10 miles (15k or so) at a 10 minute per mile pace.  Unlike the Bix there were no mad dash sprints or 45º slopes to trot down.  The 1 hour 40 minute run was pretty intense but the barefoot thing is paying off so I had no pain.  Hit the treadmill again this morning for a three easy miles and will attempt a long run again tomorrow.

I’ve been trying to listen to the Camel Club but can’t get my head around all the characters – this guy gets assassinated, then there’s a cop, a secretary then the guy who got assassinated isn’t dead but is a brother to the secret service guys nanny who’s wife is having an affair…   I think the book is good (highly recommended from my dad) but I’m about 2.5 hours into it and really confused.  Never had this problem before.  I think its the jet lag and lack of other things going on at the gym.  I had the whole facility to myself at Disney – it is a vacation destination after all!  I’ve resorted to music on the treadmills and will try the book again when I get on home turf.

Yesterday we moved to a hotel in the city called Jia.  It’s Phillip Starke’s first hotel in Asia and its marvelous.  Modern, clean, centered in the city and no Mickey Mouse ears to be seen.  We are all breathing easier.  We get a free membership to the California Spa around the corner in Times Square.  Funny how I can be 3000 miles from home but still close to such familiar names.  The spa is huge and one I don’t think I’d ever enter back home.  Way too many pretty people and posers trying look buff in their shorts.  I’ll try to take a few snaps before I leave.  Times Square Hong Kong has a lot of lights like the original in New York but about 1/4 the size.  Every time I’ve been over there it’s been packed like New Years Eve.  That’s how 6 million people live together on what is basically a tropical beach!

On Thursday we got some time off and went to see the world’s largest brass Buddha.  It sits on the top of a mountain so you have to take a tramcar and then hike up to it.  The Typhoon rains had just ended and as we crested the hill at the end of tram ride the sun began to shine.  Pretty amazing.  We got off our car and hiked up the long staircase to the top.  As we arrived we noticed a bunch of people bowing to the Buddha.  Later we came to discover that inside the statue is what they called an artifact – an actual piece of bone from Buddha preserved all these centuries.  I guess it’s kind of like some Catholic Churches that put pieces of saints in their altars.  The view from up there is awesome.  As advertised, 360º of pure beauty.

The Monastery sits on a flat plateau below the statue and is covered in a haze of incense.  Jim (the direct0r) and I began to walk over for a visit and the monks started chanting!  “Wow,” I said, “We gotta go see this!”  Upon entering the temple we discovered it was a recording being blasted across the fields for the tourists.  Kind of ruined the effect but it was still cool – in a Las Vegas, Disneyland kind of way…  The statue is close to the airport, so if you’re ever in Hong Kong, take the 1.5 hours and go for a ride to the top of the mountain.  You won’t regret it!

Here are some pictures:


tom lowe photo, llc

tacoma, wa 98406


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