Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Frolf at Ditan with Sandy and Cowboy Jeff

Backdated entry originally published 3:50 a.m. on July 5, 2008.

"Ditan" translates to "Temple of Earth," making Ditan Park one of the holiest places in China. That's why Cowboy Jeff (so named because he wears a black cowboy hat; alas, he's only visiting, and in fact the next night would be his final one in Beijing before moving on to Bangkok), Sandy and I decided it'd be a fine idea to tote some Frisbees and play Frisbee golf there before pickup at Deshengmen. (We had dinner at the fine looking place to the right, just across the street from Ditan.)

From the onset something felt awry. It was too peaceful, too secluded, too green. Too foggy. Too spacious, the roads shooting out into a misty vanishing point while the trees played the untroubled sentinel. Dare I say it? Too sacred.

And then there was this, an occult chanting that we could hear before we'd even found a suitable landmark to use as our first hole:

It grew louder and louder, though Sandy and Jeff seemed oblivious. It was... well, it compares to any of the chants from Yankee Stadium's left-field bleachers. In any case, you can watch the video for yourself.

On the second hole, where we had to hit a sign but stipulated that the disc must always scrape against a red wall, I threw my Frisbee over the wall and into the inner promenade (oops), which was closed to the public (double oops). For the next 20 to 30 minutes, Jeff, Sandy and I made forays around the wall to find a suitable point for me to climb over. But the problem, we decided, was getting back: the wall from the inside was too high.

Eventually Sandy asked one of the park's maintenance employees to let us in, and he did, and we retrieved the disc and exited to go to Deshengmen for Tuesday night pickup. And that was that.

POSTSCRIPT: Pickup, played in rain that night, was possibly the most fun any of us has had at Deshengmen all summer. More than 20 people showed up to play 5-on-5 make-it-take-it Ultimate, not counting the handful of spectators. The dinner afterwards was fun, too (pictures can be seen in Wednesday's (7/2) entries).

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