Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Last Morning in Changsha
Aug. 23 - For the first time in three weeks I woke up early enough to go for a run. Today is my last full day in Changsha before leaving for Lengshuijiang.
It was after 6 a.m. when I left the hotel. The sky this morning, as always, was still so overcast I could not tell if the reason was pollution or rain clouds. For once, though, the air was light and cool.
On my way to the school track, street vendors had laid out vegetables on the sidewalk – bitter melon, squash, bunches of leafy greens I had no name for. A butcher hacked at a thick, red chunk of meat on a cutting board set on a cart. Sellers with rolled up sleeves and rolled up pants legs sat on low stools scraping scales off fish, the glistening guts piled on newspaper. A crowd had gathered around a man selling some kind of Chinese medicine. He spoke in a thick Hunanese accent.
I spotted Lai Xiang and Yang Ying, my new friends who work at the hotel, walking toward me.
“We were running,” Lai Xiang said. They had woken up at 5 a.m. and were heading back to the hotel, where they lived, to take a nap before their afternoon shift.
They followed me to the school track and stretched as I ran about five laps before I was winded. We walked back to the hotel.
“Don’t forget me!” Lai Xiang said as we parted ways in the hotel lobby. I promised to call them when I was back in Changsha.