A Travellerspoint blog

Shanghai Ultimate

Annual Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Asia Tour on towangle's travel map.

Our first weekend in Shanghai happened to coincide with the Shanghai Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. Shanghai’s expat community has built a strong Ultimate community that hosts pick-up & league games and an annual tournament that draws teams from around SE Asia. The Shanghai fielded three of the 16 teams in the tournament. I played for the third string Shanghai Pirates. Seven one-hour games in two days was the most intense workout I have had in a long time. We went three and four for the tournament, which was enough to win one of the consolation brackets. More importantly we had a great time.

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Ultimate prides itself on simplicity and sportsmanship. There are no referees. Fouls and rule violations are called by players on the field. If the call is contested the disc is brought back and the throw is replayed.

Despite its overall simplicity, competitive Ultimate involves a tremendous amount of strategy, athleticism, and teamwork. There are positions (handler, mid, deep, wing), zone and man to man defenses, spread and stack offenses, and plenty of specialized terms, most of them intuitive, like: huck, break, flick, backhand, hammer, kick-block, hot, and cup.

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Diving catches and blocks are frequent and spectacular. The success of a team is very much dependent on its ability to utilize all of its players and match up well with the opposing team.

In the end though, it is the spirit of the game that is most enjoyable. The idea that everyone should have fun reigns supreme. After each of our tournament games each team would devise a rousing cheer to honor the opposing side. Usually our cheers involved some creative usage of Chinese and references to Pirates drinking rum in the end-zone – AARRRRR.

Posted by towangle 20:01 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (1)

Arrival and First Few Days in Shanghai

Luckily, we had very uneventful flights from Minneapolis to Chicago and then on to Shanghai. With plenty of homework to do and movies to watch, the 14 hour flight passed quickly. Our friend Nick met us at the airport and we jumped onto the Maglev train which took us speeding 431 km/hr past houses surrounded by water to the city (if I'm correct with a .6 conversion, that's over 250 mph). The only heart-stopping moment was when a train passed going the other direction and created quite a clamor.
We've settled in to Erin and Nick's fantastic apartment and I'm actually staying home and doing homework this morning while the others are playing in an international ultimate frisbee tournament. I will go do some yoga then head over later to cheer ... after four games yesterday the pace around the apartment was slow this morning but I imagine it's picked up on the field.
It seems we have mostly eased into the time difference, though I keep waking up at 5 am. Given the 13 hour difference, that doesn't make much sense but I'm liking the morning anyway and the Ryan genes allow me to fall back asleep. It has been uncharacteristically cool here since we arrived - with maybe 80 as the high and lots of rain and clouds. Joe and I are enjoying it while we can because we know the heat will be oppressive when it gets here. Yet another reason to enjoy the cooler mornings...
My first class is Tuesday, but Joe and I will attend an orientation and welcome session tomorrow. We found my school Friday and it will take a cab then subway ride to get there, but will only cost about $2.50 each direction and take about 45 minutes. If I go early enough I can catch a seat on the train and get some reading in. I will have 6 hours of class a day studying different aspects of Chinese law, which means quite a significant amount of homework.
The school's in a busy part of downtown Shanghai called Puxi (pu-shee), whereas my friends live in an ex-patriot community in a neighborhood called Pudong that in places is more Caucasian than Chinese. It is very nice to be able to communicate, but not quite what I expected of China! That part will come in Puxi and our field trips with the University. We definitely got a lot of stares wandering around the University neighborhood.
Joe is really practicing his Mandarin and I am very impressed. I wish I had studied more before I came but I guess necessity is the best motivator. The only things I know for sure now are hello, excuse me, please, thank you, check, I don't know, I don't understand, wife, husband and subway. Hopefully this will expand soon!
I will have Joe upload some more pictures when he gets back - I have not spent the time to figure out how to make them small enough.
I hope everyone is enjoying to beginning of their summer (or whatever season it is where you are).

Posted by stacyacy 19:07 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (0)

Mt. Rushmore - Badlands - Minnesota

sunny 23 °C

The best part about visiting Mt. Rushmore at 7:14 AM is that there likely less than 20 other tourists at the monument. We strolled the boardwalk beneath the faces (Washington, T Roosevelt, Jefferson & Lincoln) without seeing another person. The downs side was that we arrived before the museum and other attractions opened. It would have been nice to learn more about the history of the monument and its creators, but with St. Paul in our sights, we did not have time to dilly dally.

We left Rushmore for Rapid City and caught up with I-90 once again. In the 45 miles between Rapid City and Wall, we counted over 60 Wall Drug signs along the freeway. Succumbing to the pressures of advertising we followed the ubiquitous billboards to the famed drug store.

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Two sides of a city street are lined with Wall Drug and hangers on selling trinkets and other western plains paraphernalia.

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We escaped Wall with an ice coffee and strawberry smoothy and headed south along the highway looping through the Badlands National Park.

Entering the park was as spectacular as I remember when Dad and I came through in 1999.

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Unfortunately our visit this time was just as brief.

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We made several stops for pictures along the way, but an hour and a half later we were out of the park and riding the I-90 ribbon over the rolling hills of South Dakota.

The final ~600 miles were uneventful aside from a strong wind storm blowing south to north. It pushed the trailer around a bit more than we were comfortable with. By the time we connect with I-35 north our then tail wind had lost most of its intensity.

By 10:30pm we arrived at Stacy's grandma's house at last...safe sound and glad to be out of the car.

...next up 14 hours in a plane to Shanghai... stay tuned.

Posted by towangle 19:49 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Yellowstone to South Dakota

sunny 23 °C

The sunshine and stirring campground eventually roused us from our sleeping bags. A little rain fell during the night but the only evidence was more dew than normal on the rain fly.

We dined on oatmeal and bananas before hitting the road again. Lake Yellowstone was immense and beautiful. Perhaps the nicest surprise was the lack of boats carving up the vast expanse of water.

Before leaving the east side of the park we stopped a second campground for a quick shower.

The road from Yellowstone to Cody, Wyoming was gorgeous, though the same could be said for much of northern Wyoming. Not many trees but the reds, greens, browns and yellows that paint the often jagged landscape delighted the eyes.

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We drove most of the day on two lane highways with minimal traffic. There was a brief stretch on I-90 before veering south through the black hills towards Mt. Rushmore.

Not knowing how packed camp sites would be, we reserved a spot in a KOA (Kampground of America) a few miles from the monument. It seemed more like a summer camp than a camp ground. We didn't see any other tent campers - only RV's, cabins and even some luxury log "cabins" for several hundred $'s a night. We appreciated the hot showers 50 feet from our site and were on our way by 7 the next morning.

Posted by towangle 19:31 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (2)

La Grande to Yellowstone

sunny 21 °C

Monday morning we caravaned with mom to Baker City where she works. From there Stacy and I sped on to Idaho. We stopped in Idaho Falls to eat left over enchilada and Spanish rice.

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The small gorge created by the Snake river at the edge of town provided our first chance for scenic photos.

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It wasn't until 8:30pm that we finally arrived at Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Once we entered the park, buffalo were in abundance. The landscape was a bit bleak from the wide fires that charred much of the park a few years back. We splurged for dinner at the lodge before wandering over to the famed geyser.

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A few dozen people were waiting for the next eruption on the boardwalk and benches skirting Old Faithful. We took this as a good sign that we didn't just miss it. The geyser goes off approximately every 90 minutes. Our timing couldn't have been better. We had barely found a spot on one of the benches when water and steam began spraying tens of feet into the air.

Tourist destination checked, we drove another 40 minutes to our campsite along the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Our REI half dome tent set up in minutes and we were soon dozing off to the distant howl of wolves.

Posted by towangle 21:55 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (0)

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