Sunday, August 30, 2009
Roller bootin' (Part II)
The night after our first roller-skating excursion – despite hip soreness and the threat of toe blisters -- Allen and I decided to skate Lengshuijiang’s other rink.
This rink is located under the bridge that crosses the river, the Zhijiang. The rink is a rectangle with a pool in the middle that is fenced off. Along the perimeter of the rink is an iron fence and beyond that a trash-filled bank and then the river.
It was a perfect night for roller-skating under a bridge. It had rained the entire day and now the city was crisp, almost cold.
The rink is special because there are several ramps. A couple ramps were deep valleys that the skaters had to run up once they got to the other side because the angle was so steep.
The level of skating here was much higher than at the underground rink. Some teenage boys were skating backwards at high speeds and coming to a stop by sliding one leg out. They easily conquered even the steep ramps.
I was able to skate both steep ramps, although not as gracefully as the teens. The first time I got stuck where the ramp dipped down and had to be pulled up by Allen and two little girls.
Then I tried going over a series of hills and bumps. Although unbalanced, I stayed on my feet. I can do it better, I said to Allen. I started off faster to get over the first hump.
I easily flew over the second hump but when I reached the third hump, I felt my upper body tilting backwards. Suddenly I was parallel to the ground. And then I landed on my butt. Hard.
“Are you OK?” Allen asked. He pulled me to my feet. “Does anything hurt?”
“Only my pride,” I said.
I hung back as the little kids grabbed the back of Allen’s T-shirt and formed a skate train. Soon eight kids had formed a line behind him. They whipped around the steep ramp and, coming around the corner, lost a few kids at the end. They ended up in a heap on the ground.
The kids were fine. They got to their feet and chased after Allen again, shrieking and laughing.
Minutes later, Allen shouted to me, “I lost my wheel!”
“My wheel rolled into the river,” he said.
One skate only had three wheels. A boy handed Allen the bolt but the wheel itself was long gone.
Allen exchanged his skates for another pair and was back on the rink with the kids trailing behind him.