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by victornguyen

Adventure with my table tennis coach

Before now, long excursions abroad seemed impractical, since in 1976 a car hit me while I was in my bicycle. Since then I've been paralyzed below the armpits, therefore this adventure with my table-tennis trainer was like a fantasy come true.

Although I expected that an exciting and cheerful trip, I felt somewhat cheated. During our flight we had to set our watches ahead 12 hours, therefore that I lost half of my birthday! Click ping pong table outdoor PingpongStart with useful information about ping pong paddle, my article will help you solve your problem.

I thought a lot on the plane, and many recollections flashed through my head. Ten years ago I began practicing table tennis at the Burke Rehabilitation Center (White Plains, N.Y.), and I became acquainted with Peizhen Shao, our staff coach. Since then my abilities and interest in the sport have steadily improved. Zhen, as we call Shao, arrived at Burke from Shanghai, China, and she's been involved in table tennis all of her life. She had been the Chinese women's winner three years in a row, and she had the chance to play for President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger at a feast in their honor during their trip Shanghai in 1972. She still treasures this unique memory. It is amazing that over 26 years ago the sport helped establish a bridge between the USA and China. Additionally, it served to attract me to China with Zhen as my friend and direct.

After 12 hours, the maximum flight I'd ever obtained, we landed in Norita, Japan. I had been lounging in the airport when I heard someone call me by name! I could not imagine who it could be. I wheeled about and was amazed to discover it was an IBM executive I hadn't seen since I retired from the company in 1994, following a 39-year profession. He had been led to Beijing on business and was amazed to discover me in such an unlikely place. After a three-hour wait, Zhen and I continued to Shanghai.


It was beyond 10:00 p.m. when we arrived in Shanghai's Hong Qiao ("rainbow," at Chinese) airport. Zhen explained that in 1991, when she accompanied the American wheelchair table-tennis team to Shanghai, this airport was under construction and had no lift service from the arrival area to ground level. The Shanghai Athletic Sports Commission made two weightlifting athletes to carry the American gamers, one by one, in their own wheelchairs, down to floor level. Since that time, Shanghai airport was remodeled and has become much more contemporary.

Zhen's brother and sister-in-law were waiting for us with a car, and we proceeded on into the Olympic Hotel.

The following morning I wandered outside to enjoy my very first day at China. The hotel stands in the middle of a sports village, which is located southwest of Shanghai. Indoor and outside stadiums adapting 10,000 and 80,000 people, respectively, and a brand new swimming pool are built to international standards. Many excellent athletes build there for a variety of events. They get strict and systematic training in this middle, with its own extensive, modern sports facilities. Each morning this spacious area is full of people of all ages running and practicing Tai Ji Quan. This kind of exercise has a slow movement, continuous rhythm, and relaxed way that's quite Chinese in character.

At noon, Zhen's brother treated us to dinner in a nearby seafood restaurant. The meal was sumptuous, with approximately 15 distinct dishes, many that I had never before tasted. One of the great joys of Shanghai lies in its immense range of restaurants specializing in all the major types of Chinese cuisine. Many of these institutions have tanks of fish, shellfish, eels, and snakes that you can select for your meal. During my visit we usually had from 12 to 20 dishes , based on the size of our group. We were never served any rice! I guess this was considered a low-cost food. Obviously, chopsticks were the sole eating utensils.

Much of Shanghai's older buildings and infrastructure was constructed after World War I. Thus, it resembles a cheerful, bustling European city of the 1920s but is rapidly being merged with the most recent creation of post-modern constructions and plazas. Many wide, beautiful avenues have European-style light-posts supporting hanging flower baskets. In fact, trees and blossoms were all over, even on the smallest streets. On each side of the avenues, railings separate bicyclists from autos and trucks.

Bicyclists are everywhere, as it is the town's chief mode of transport. Frequently I saw young girls dressed in high heels and suits, riding sidesaddle on the back of bikes! Bikes are modified to be taxicabs or to transport every conceivable thing. I found one biker carrying around 12 live chickens in separate baskets! The November weather was light, and I was comfy in my polo shirt.

Zhen's in-laws joined us for dinner. Mr. Xia, her sexual, 82-year-old father-in-law, is professor emeritus in Shanghai Medical University, and he continues to maintain a busy schedule. In the 1940s he studied at Cornell Medical College of New York, along with his English is superb. He told me about Shanghai's impressive improvement. In the past few years the town has assembled the airport, bridges, tunnels, a metropolitan subway system, state highways, and suburban home, while the whole industrial base was expanding.

Shanghai, with a population of 12 million, is the largest city in China. It's a financial centre and is known as the ideal city for shopping. Mention shopping to any indigenous, and he or she will think of Nanjing Road. This busiest of Shanghai's streets stretches for nearly six miles. Lined with cinemas, shops, and eating areas, it is continually packed with pedestrians and crowded buses. Just off busy Nanjing Road West is a Buddhist temple, also called Jing' An Temple, the"Temple of Tranquillity," which is 1,750 years old. There I met an 82-year-old monk. He'd come to this temple when he was 16 and has been there since. But here I was, a 67-year-old white man in a wheelchair machine he had never seen before. It seemed that I was more of a novelty for him that he was to me!

I studied the ancient paintings and statues. People came in by the busy roads to buy written prayer scrolls and burn them at the incense burners while saying prayers to Buddha. The temple is like a museum. It has much original artwork and is an island of peace in a frantically busy town.

From the 1930s and 40s, the rise of Nazism in Germany precipitated a wave of Jewish refugees. Many British and German Jews flocked to Shanghai and other Chinese cities. Back in Shanghai, Japanese occupiers herded them into the Hong Kou district, in which they built a synagogue and established a Jewish neighborhood. The Shanghai government has erected a monument nearby in memory of those people. It is in a small community park. When I visited it I saw elderly people playing cards and Chinese chess. One of them, who was 80, told me he still remembered these refugees. It was an animated conversation (Chinese, of course) using Zhen's brother-in-law because he described their butcher store and diet, however, I could catch two or three familiar words like pastrami, knockwurst, and wiener schnitzel. We were a fascination to people close to us. Everyone crowded around to listen to our conversation and see this odd Caucasian on four wheels.

During the President's trip to China in June, Mrs. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright paid a visit to the local synagogue.

I enjoy playing table tennis, also I did not forget it in Shanghai. 1 day we went to a table-tennis club with Zhen and her sister-in-law, who is a senior coach for its Shanghai table-tennis team. Twelve tables at a row inhabited one big fitness center, which was full of children, from around 7 to 16. Certainly, this was serious business, and they were all working unbelievably hard. Now I understand why China has so many top players. I practiced with some of them--they had been too great and were so serious and respectful. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and I almost forgot my era!

Following nine days in Shanghai, we headed for Beijing. I was worried because I'd heard China has no accommodations for wheelchair users. For example, usually no curb cuts existed. That meant I couldn't go anywhere by myself. How can I mount the Great Wall alone? How could you see China without including Beijing? Our trip to Beijing took less than two hours on China Eastern Airlines, rated the best of China's 18 carriers. Our support was excellent, worthy of its own standing. Read best ping pong paddle brand for price to choose the right table tennis racket.

Zhenxu Yao met us at Beijing Airport. Yao, as we called him, is a classic table-tennis friend of Zhen's. He is chairman of this Techniques Committee of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and vice chairman of China's Table Tennis Association (CTTA). We stayed at Beijing's Olympic Hotel.

Then the disaster--I couldn't get through my room's steel-framed toilet door! We attempted various rooms, to no avail. Yao proposed that I use the men's room off the reception, but with visions of leaving that spot in my birthday suit, I refused to hear of it. Finally Yao discovered a solution. We moved into the Presidential Suite. It had a 35-foot living/dining room and an accessible bathroom! Yao also arranged for his buddy to push us around during our stay in Beijing.

This day we visited the Summer Palace, situated at the northwest Beijing suburbs. The region includes the large Kunming Lake, surrounded by an enormous assortment of glorious garden architecture with pavilions, terraces, temples, pagodas, waterside gazebos, covered corridors, stone bridges, along with the famous marble boat. There's also Longevity Hill and countless quiet trails and natural streams. Long Corridor, the world's longest outside corridor, runs over 2,400 feet. Every crossbeam is adorned with more than 300 colorful paintings according to Chinese tales. Though I spent the whole day , I could visit only part of those gorgeous gardens.

The following day we drove to the section of the Great Wall at Badaling Pass--the most popular Great Wall tourist destination. Yao asked among his friends, a table-tennis athlete, to join us. So, such as Zhen and our driver, I had four companions. Afterwards I understood why!

A museum at the foot of this mountain supplied us with a panoramic picture as a debut. Then the four people lifted my wheelchair and carried me step by step, making me seem exactly like an ancient Chinese emperor. In the stage, I found a series of hills stretching to the horizon along with a single narrow passage leading them through Badaling Pass.

The Great Wall winds for approximately 1,000 miles through the hills' ridges and valleys. It is the world's only man-made object which can be seen in the moon. According to legend, the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, Qin Shi Huang (221-210 B.C.), initially started this fantastic project. Since that time emperors prolonged it and enhanced. In the last few years the Chinese government has carried out restoration work on a lot of departments to accommodate the increasing amount of domestic and foreign visitors.

I obtained a certificate commemorating my Great Wall ascension. On this well-known Chinese saying reads,"One who fails to achieve the Great Wall isn't a hero." I was proud of myself. We're all tired, hungry, and cold. Nearby was a little town with a industrial area, and we discovered that a restaurant that was well-known. The sign said, "Kentucky Fried Chicken." The food was excellent!

That day, after we returned to Beijing, Yinsheng Xu, WTTA chairman, hosted a banquet at the Olympic Hotel in my honour. In fact, my four companions, with their aching backs, needed to be honored! I really enjoyed everyone's hospitality.


We spent our final full day in Beijing visiting the Museum Museum. This is the former palace of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties and is known as the Forbidden City. Our visit began at its southern main entrance. To enter the Palace here, first we had to maneuver through Tiananmen Gate. We noticed that the walls' extraordinary thickness and the elevation of the Palace's imposing tower. There were many unique Chinese forms of decoration: ornamental columns, stone lions, and white marble bridges.

Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace) was the primary gate of the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Outside this gate is the huge Tiananmen Square, the largest plaza in the entire world. Now it has grown into a controversial symbol of China's contemporary politics.

The Palace Museum had more gates and halls than I can recall. All have nice names together with the attribute Chinese boon: peace, harmony, prosperity, longevity, and so on. The museum is the largest and best-preserved set of ancient buildings in China today, with about 10,000 rooms within the outer walls! It was really a miniature city within a series of concentric walls. Each internal wall is at a higher level and encircled many buildings. At length, in the very heart of this Palace sat the structure where the empress lived and where she held court on her own throne.

Yet more, my friends raised my wheelchair and allow me to pass gates and enter hallways, one after another. As the capital of China for more than nine centuries, Beijing today is a living museum of China's cultural heritage. The most complete ancient imperial architecture in the world is maintained in this town, including the Imperial Palace and its affiliated buildings; the royal tombs; along with the imperial gardens. Beijing is the soul of China's ancient civilization.

We made a special trip to visit the Children's Palace and see Zedong Zhuang. Zhen's old friend, Zhuang, had been the world table-tennis champion for three consecutive years in the 1960s. At that time he had been a pioneer in organizing visits between the American and Chinese table-tennis teams. A legendary sports figure in China, Zhuang now coaches kids at the Children's Palace. With every one these amazing memories, he also wrote an autobiography that is replete with photographs of famous athletes and leaders he's worked with. We were happy to be given a copy as a memento.

Later, after returning to New York, we obtained Zhuang's letter. He wrote,"Marty, you have indomitable willpower, refusing to yield to disability. You proved yourself by visiting China to see an age-old civilization and to ascend the famous Great Wall. I cherish a deep respect for you, my American friend."

Boarding the plane, Zhen and I headed home. We'd traveled immensely. I found more than I could consume, and I made many friends. China has an ancient and vibrant culture. Now its cities are quickly becoming contemporary, industrial, and sophisticated. In our blog, you will find a lot of information about ping pong paddle: https://www.quora.com/profile/PongStart ... -To-Choose

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