Nanjing: Robot’s First Frisbee Tournament

So a week ago Friday we headed down to Beijing South Railway, met up with a few other Frisbee kids, and found our seats in steerage. Turns out even hard sleepers had been sold out, so whoever bought our tickets got us hard seaters. We walked down the length of 15 train cars, peering into luxurious looking cots, and found the sixteenth car, a more crowded, louder, brighter, much smellier, and cramped version of coach. And not on a nice airline like SingaporeAir or JetBlue, I’m talking Northwest. A standing-room only woman put her little stool right next to me, and as I tried to sleep, ate an apple as loud as she possibly could, moist and loud crunching and much smacking of her lips. And then she got a phone call at 1:00 am, from a wrong number, but proceeded to have a fifteen minute conversation anyway. I was livid. The boys were so uncomfortable that Ginny actually lay down on the floor to sleep, which he claimed was better than the chairs. I think I believe him. I maybe only got two hours of sleep.

The Boys Camping Out In Steerage

We were woken up by bright lights at 4 in the morning, although the train didn’t arrive until 5:30. After a brief and necessary stop at McDonald’s we went to the hotel of a teammate who had flown down with his family a few days before. A breakfast excursion and a glorious waterfall shower allowed me to get dressed and be persuaded to get to the field by 8:30.

I was excited. We played Ningbo, than Nanjing, then Tianjin, then Shanghai. I didn’t do too badly, I even scored a goal. Shanghai was supposed to be our big rival, although they hadn’t sent any of their best players-we weren’t exactly at top form, with two complete novice girls on the field. I managed to do my part without falling or in general making a fool of myself, made a few great defensive plays, danced a lot to the same songs that kept repeating (for the entire weekend they had two mix cds on repeat. I will never get that song about Jenny and her stupid phone number out of my head), and in general had a good time running around being athletic. Shanghai scored one point during the first half, and we shamefully let them double their score in the second half…but won with a solid 11 point lead. Also, the Tianjin team was from a sports university, so their boys were cut…and walking around with their shirts off…hello six pack city. Abs for days. I picked up a bit of a burn (damn you, ineffective Chinese sunblock) that I noticed as we left the field.

End of Day One. Tired, Burnt Robot.

Bambi, Ginny and I hit up Subway for a foot long each (I’m not really one for fast food, but those subs are real satisfying after not much of anything besides Snickers and Gatorade all day), then went back to our friends’ hotel to wash up. The tournament organizers had messed up so we weren’t sure where we were staying yet. Another glorious water fall shower, and we changed into our party gear for Black and White. It was…spectacular.

Spy vs. Spy.

The party, however, was kind of lame. No other team really dressed up besides a few black and white dresses. It eventually migrated to a bar, where some of the guys thought it would be a great idea to get tequila shots. I refused to take any after the first, because I’m lame but also because they were fake liquor and I didn’t feel like vomiting out my eyeballs the next day. I also happened to get locked out of my hotel room for the night, and ended up with an uncomfortable night of no sleeping. Was able to get in touch with my erstwhile roommate in the rosy hours of dawn, enough for an hour long nap on a most comfortable mattress to myself, until I hauled myself out for day two of torture-by-discus. We wearily made our way to fields, and limbered up for our first games.

Black vs. White

I was achy and creaky but warmed up soon enough. We ended up winning the tournament undefeated, and I even got the “spirit award” for our team, most likely for being the loudest newcomer, which won me a frisbee and some swag-a jersey and some bright, bright, yellow shorts. It’s like wearing a highlighter–I swear the shorts emit light by themselves.

The Final Teams: Tianjin vs Beijing

We stopped at Subway again. I was feeling like the fattest of pandas when one of the guys commented that I had in fact, demolished an entire foot long sub in the time that it had taken him to eat half. Whatever, I’m a growing girl? No shame. After sating our hunger, we sneakily went back to the hotel where they had mostly checked out, to use the showers and steam room. It was glorious. We dinnered at an Italian restaurant, then wandered. We got foot massages for 50 kuai an hour. The woman who was massaging Ginny kept telling me that something about our hands and fingernails was more Asian than white, I didn’t really understand what the hell she was trying to tell me, but explained that we were both hapa, which mollified her. They were amazed by his ginger hair, amused by my Chinese, and stumped by the Korean kid’s silence.

The boys and I had second dinner at a little hole in the wall. It was decent, fried rice and vegetables and a pork and spicy green pepper dish that was more spicy pepper than anything. After that, we boarded our stupid hard seater for the long ride home. We had an end row, so both the boys slept on the floor on yoga mats, while I tried to stretch out on the three seats, but it was one of the most uncomfortable nights of sleeping I’d ever had.

We arrived in Beijing at 7 am, early enough for me to brush my teeth, throw on some clean clothes, and head out the door for a full day (9-5) of teaching.


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