Wish I had some interesting stuff to report on Judy and BISS, but it’s just another day at school. School starts, Judy works hard, and school ends. She comes home, gets ready for the next day, and then sits down to eat and watch an episode or two of “House of Cards.”
Today is my official “find some table tennis” day. I leave around 9:30 and go over to the neighborhood park. The regulars are there, but so are some new faces. As usual, I’m a novelty, so everyone has to try me out on the table. One of the new faces speaks a little English. I’m trying to figure out where to buy a net of my own if I ever need it. She helps me arrange with one of the other players a date & time to take me locally to buy a net. They also tell me about another park nearby where there are more tables, and better players. I’ve got plenty of challenge here, but there’s no harm in checking out some other spots to play.
I walk through the hutong (neighborhood), and sure enough, there is a really big park with a much nicer table tennis area (solid wind breaks and better tables). The players are finishing up as I arrive. It’s near lunch, and another really hot day in Beijing. I’ll come by another day.
I’ve been searching online for table tennis clubs for several weeks. Google wasn’t much help, but a map search for table tennis clubs turned up 30 or more and several aren’t too far away. Following the map, I begin the search. As I’m enroute, I walk by another park, and sure enough, more table tennis tables, and players. These are the best players I’ve seen yet. I watch from a distance, and then they begin to take down their nets and leave. It’s really hot, and there’s no shade over the tables.
I keep searching. I’m walking through areas I’ve never ventured into before. Lots of interesting sites, and this isn’t a “tourist” track. It’s the back streets and alleys. I finally arrive at the street where the table tennis club is located (I think). Eventually, I spot the club. It’s an outdoor club with over 20 tables. I walk around, but no one is playing. There is a group playing mahjong, but no table tennis. I find the entrance, and there is a small shop set up selling table tennis equipment. I end up purchasing my net, Hooray!!!!.
The Hepingli Table Tennis Club. There are two rows of table, 10 or more in each row.
Here’s the other row.
An older lady is putting her net on a table, and she motions me over. I spent the next two hours volleying with her. Several people walked over to watch us play, and I had to try and answer a few questions. Most wanted to know how old I was? As I began to finish, an older guy walked up with some papers motioning I needed to pay. It turns out the fee for my two hours of play was 2 RMB ($.32). This is quite a bit cheaper than golf. Just before I left, he found me again, showing me some booklets and asking for 30 RMB ($4.80). I think I joined a table tennis club. If I understand their booklet, I get to play 40 times before I have to ante up again. Cheap!
My “official” club booklet
The rest of the day included, a swim session, a burger & fries at Homeplate BBQ, a trip to Sanyuanli Market for some fruit, and a crazy ride home in a bike/rickshaw. When the traffic is bad, these are actually faster. They just weave in and out of the cars.
On my way home from Sanyuanli Market.