I mentioned in my last post that we were on a plane. We had a very good reason to be on a plane, as we went to visit some friends who live in China. The next several posts (in no particular order) will describe some of the things we experienced in that very large country.
The workday starts later in China than in the States; many businesses don't open until 9 or 10am. This allows people to have some time for morning exercise, and many Chinese people love to exercise. What was interesting is that their exercise is often a community event; that is, they do it together. Early in the morning local parks are filled with people exercising in small groups, anywhere from 3 to 30 people together. Some dance, some do tai chi, some play badminton, some play croquet, and some walk or jog. This wasn't reserved for young people; all ages participated.
As we walked through these parks and observed the people exercising, most ignored us or stared at us. But one group invited us to participate, so we did. They appeared to be playing a variation of hacky-sack, a craze that was popular in the States many years ago; they stood in a circle and kicked the "sack" back and forth to each without using their hands. The end of the "sack"--I don't know the real word for this--has springy deal in it to make it bounce, and the rest is a bunch of feather to slow it's flight midair. The Chinese people who played this were very good; even the ones that were in their 50's and 60's. We weren't quite so good--though my rusty soccer skills let me hold me own--but we had a lot of fun laughing and playing with them. In the picture below, note the red, yellow, and green feather object flying near the lady with the visor; that's the "sack."