Persimmons to Empachers

My day (which ends in 27 minutes) started near the Ming Tombs, at 5 am at a very nice house. I didn’t want to wake anybody so I walked the grounds — an old persimmon orchard — and snapped some shots. I ate a persimmon the night before – my friend told me Americans never really get to experience them because they are hard to cultivate and serve. The trees must be grafted onto rootstock to thrive, and then, when the fruit is ripe (it resembles an apple) and the leaves have fallen, the fruit should be ripened in powdered lime (the mineral, not the citrus) or in a warm place for two days. It was served nearly frozen and spooned out of the center. I liked it but wouldn’t go crazy for the next one.

As I walked the path clicking away I could hear the fruit randomly proving Newton’s point with a dull thud – a measure of how quiet it was where the farm was located… the steep hills to the north are where the Great Wall passed, and to the east is the ancestral burial grounds of the Ming dynasty (which was replaced by the Qing Dynasty, the final one before the Nationalists (The “Last Emperor” was a Qing) took power.

More China orchard shots here.

I drove back into the city and met some of the Lenovo Athlete bloggers at a round of Olympic table tennis at Beijing University. I sat next to Seth Kelsey, the American fencer, saw Joshia Ng the Malaysian track cyclist (Keiren) and David Oliver the American track star. There were others, but I was rude, didn’t introduce myself as that would have been rude in the middle of a game and could only stay a half-hour (but saw some ferocious volleys involving a determined Hong Kong player) before I went to the Olympic Green to dodge the SBD’s (“Silent But Deadlies”, what I call the electric vehicles that creep up behind you),  and admire some dedicated national pride at work. I will never contemplate painting my face after seeing this work of art.

Then I checked out of our Showcase on the Green, took off the Lenovo uniform shirt affectionately nicknamed “The Oven Mitt” by those who admire it’s bulletproof, flame retardent qualities, and made my way to Shunyi to watch the rowing. This was the high point of the day. Dave’s very own “Chariots of Fire” moment.  I saw true greatness before my very eyes.

Dinner? An astonishingly awesome Chinese meal of cucumbers and chili, black bean spareribs, roasted eggplant, smoked rice, and beef and peppers and onions, two Tsingtaos, and home with actually enough time to upload 457 photos and write two blog posts. So, half-a-day-off, saw two sports, did a little work, and had a most profound walk amongst the persimmons.

(*Empachers are the yellow boats favored by most Olympians, I own one, and saw a lot of them today.)

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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