The traffic I am referring to here is mostly not the four-wheeled kind that we encounter on a daily basis as we rush, crawl, swerve, hoot our way to work in the mornings. This is about the traffic we encounter in our daily jog around the park – in the interests of health and exercise!
Traffic varies from day to day, depending on the weather and what time we stagger out of our 12th floor apartment to lope around the track in our complex. Weekends also bring out different groups of people.
The regular traffic consists of:
- The walkers – a group of three – two men and one lady that stride around with intent and purpose. We greet each other and they are always obliging and step out of the way to let us run past.
- Old man walker No. 1 – he keeps to himself and follows an interesting route, swinging his arms enthusiastically. He never says much: head down, don’t talk to strangers.
- Old man walker No. 2 – another chap that wanders around on his own, but seems to be less focussed than Old man walker No. 1. Sometimes he joins the group of 3.
- Tai Qi lady – she dresses the part and performs her moves, even brandishing a “tai qi” sword on occasion.
- Tai Qi gent – he’s a new addition to the morning traffic – he picks a spot on one of the wooden decks next to the central pond and does his stuff overlooking the water.
- Various other joggers – some more fit than others – the man in the orange vest pounds past us when he is not do stretching exercises against one of the low walls alongside the pond. I can outrun the gent in grey tracksuit pants and white vest (or no vest on a hot day), but he gets a bit irritated with me and so he speeds up to overtake me and then heads for home!
- American strider man – he’s always walking against the rest of the traffic.
- Young couple trying to get fit – they walk at a fairly leisurely pace.
- Bird and cat lady – she brings a black bird in a cage to get fresh air and then feeds the stray cats and kittens that live around the property – not sure if they come for the bird or the food – probably both! The other day one of the kittens thought that she was late or not coming and it tried to waylay me with cute purrs and “pick me, pick me” manoeuvres in the middle of the path.
- Mom/granny with baby in pram no’s 1 through 10, and mom/gran with toddlers on baby bikes no’s 1 through 5 – on the days that they are all out in force comparing and bragging about baby development stages, trying to stay on course becomes a major problem – one has to dodge and dive around prams, babies, ranks of mothers and other obstacles. A few months ago, M was sent sprawling into the pebbles and lawn next to the path as one of them stuck her leg out and tripped him as she bent over to rearrange the blankets in the pram. Oh – so sorry….
- Tall foreigner lady with tiny baby – sometime she joins the other mothers, at other times she seems to prefer her own space.
- Dog people: mostly poodles, one or two labradors, some mixed breeds, chihuahuas; some on leads, some wandering freely; some with diligent owners with poop scoops, others with less socially-aware minders. Occasionally a dog fight threatens to break out and then everyone scurries to replace leads and reign in the delinquent
- The gardeners: weeding, cleaning the ponds, clipping the trees and shrubs, picking up other people’s rubbish
- The ayi’s on their way to clean other people’s homes
- Since the new school term has started we see children off to school. Sometimes the older ones head off on their own, sometimes they are accompanied by a parent that carries their bags for them.
- Man looking at his cell-phone – he moved 20 metres in the time that it took me to complete 6 laps – and 15 of those metres took place between my lap 1 & 2
- Lady in high heels looking like she wants to get fit but forgot which shoes to put on.
- Dancing lady – she does pirouettes and twirls along the path
- Pyjama people – wandering around in your pj’s to go to the local shops or for a walk is totally acceptable here – they tried to do away with this custom when Shanghai was on show to the world during the 2010 World Expo, but local customs don’t change easily – and why should they? Pj’s for outdoor wear are generally modest
- Random men looking like they were kicked out of their apartments by wives to encourage them to get exercise or go outside to smoke: sometimes they just stand/sit in one place.
- More cellphone people…
[Sorry – No recent photos – I’m too busy concentrating on running and breathing and dodging the dogs and the prams….]
[I also wrote about the morning people in the early days of my blog: there are more people now, but much is still the same as it was then.]