Day V3: Abs Outline Emerges - Caucasian - CycleBlaze

July 3, 2024

Day V3: Abs Outline Emerges

While slowly getting over this jet lag, it was another glorious day of sunshine and great weather with cool temperatures.  A routine was somewhat emerging.  I would bike to the grocery store, grab some bananas and bread to keep the supplies up inside the Airbnb, enjoy a coffee, and do some trades.  Then it is a 9km bike ride downtown.

The main task today was to continue digitizing and getting rid of papers and books at the library.  But a lengthy delay of my own doing in chatting to the Airbnb hosts made this task not as productive as I would have hoped.  Even so, enough got done.

Next was the higlight of the day:  taking my first class at Barry's Bootcamp.  Sure enough it was exactly as they said - a nightclub disguised as a gym.  Kidding aside, the energy in the room was infectious and the coach was top quality.  There were about 20 people in the class and we all got our chest and abs destroyed.  There were several rounds of switching back and forth between the treadmills and the weight floor.  Some of the people in the class were fitter than models.   

On that note, in the changing room, after chatting with one of the front desk staff (who also did the class by the way, how is that for living out the product), I then took off my shirt and was about to head to the showers.  As I did so, in the mirror I could see the outline of shoulder, back and chest muscles as well as the markings of six pack abs.  There was still a long way to go but I was astonished:  seeing these results was the goal after all these years of fitness training and diet.  Now it was accelerating.  Dare I say it:  if you did Barry's Bootcamp every day and most importantly watched your diet, you could look like a model too.  At the very least, it would increase your sex appeal and you would certainly have members of the opposite gender looking at you.

After this, it was a quick ride ride a few blocks away to have lunch with my aunt and uncle at a nearby restaurant.  I made sure to watch my diet because those fitness classes produced hard earned gains.  One of the topics we discussed is the estate of my late father.  This is one of the key pieces of ugly business that I am trying to deal with on this trip.  A bike ride later on to the bank and storage locker will reveal more about what is happening here and why I'm doing this trip.  But for the sake of confidentiality I can't say too much.  Let's just say there is a lot of unfair shit going on.

Next it was a walk around the seawall with my cousin but I ended up cutting it short because jet lag was getting the best of me and my brain couldn't keep up with all the information.  Another fact of reverse culture shock if you're coming from Asia:  the speed of talking in North America and the sheer volume of information that is discussed in English can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

After that, I called one of my former high school friends and listened to her sharing a storm of events that rivaled the covid lockdowns in terms of how much suffering there was.  I had already decided long in advance that I would voluntarily donate $500 to her and her husband's plight.  This was all pre- budgeted.  After hearing their story today, it was confirmed they are on the verge of eviction.  Their car was already repossessed and unlike me they can't ride bikes.  They have a new place lined up and they spent the whole day packing as well as receiving checks from various government organizations to help with settling in.  They were also the victims of fraud.  All I can hope for is they'll slowly get back on their feet as well as slowly learn financial skills to get a better grip on their situation.  There is a very real risk that what I did was enabling them but it's now out of my hands.  Whatever they decide to do with the money, I made it clear this was part of my giving budget, it is not a loan, and I don't want anything back. 

Next up, back to the libary to do more scanning and digitizing.  While this was happening, the strangest of psychology began to hit me.  At least 30 years ago I grew up here and my father had bought a place in perhaps the worst part of the Vancouver area.  It was far off in the suburbs and unbikeable because of this tunnel that only cars can go through. So any time I was downtown, I would always be watching the clock and thinking of how to get back home since the trip would take hours.

The fact I was in this exact same library now which never changed brought back these feelings.  But for fuck's sake my father was dead now and I didn't want anything to do with my widowed stepmother still living in that house.  So there was no need to hurry back.  I had my own place in an Airbnb and could do whatever the fuck I wanted now, at the very most it would take half an hour to bike back.

But the fact is it took me over 30 years to get to this point where I could do whatever I wanted in my hometown.  That includes exactly what I'm doing now with the fitness classes and getting around by bicycle.  It's not like I'm doing drugs on the downtown eastside, but choosing to not drive a car you're viewed as worse than homeless.  It made me realize with this super long delay in life that there was something seriously wrong with this whole picture and the conformist societies on both sides of the Pacific.

And with that insight, in a flash, it became clear what the heart of the problem was with me and China.  People asked me many times, "Why the hell would a free spirit like you choose to live and work in a dictatorship like that, especially with the covid lockdowns?"  The answer is that I moved there to try and gain some independence but I picked a place where the freedom (which actually exists believe it or not) was granted by the government.  This was in much the same way as it was granted by my parents.  And while my parents were loving, the government was not.  They proved with the covid lockdowns that they had the ability and the "right" to take all the freedom away if the emergency situation deemed it warranted in their eyes.

This was simply not acceptable, so I tried to push these feelings away and just do my own thing.  That amounted to, you guessed it, biking back to the Airbnb before the sun went down.  I realized this was going to be a very hard thing to unroot.

Maybe it was actually a good thing that Mr. Xi took over and turned China into an increasingly unliveable place with the covid policies and their aftermath.  If he had not pursued this path of isolation, and if life continued as it began with China opening up, then it would have made sense to stay there forever.  And if I had done that, then I never would have confronted the very heart of the matter I am facing now.  It is scary stuff.

Today's ride: 21 km (13 miles)
Total: 93 km (58 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0