A Day in Lake Placid

We took a day trip to Lake Placid in upstate New York. Whenever we told people we were going to Lake Placid, they would immediately inform us the place was the two-time site of the Winter Olympics, in 1932 and 1980. Yes, I knew that. But really I just wanted to see the lake and the Adirondack Mountains. I was seeking a moment of peace.

Hearing hundreds of Harley motorcycles rumbling around us on the road, I realized we had picked the wrong day. Thanks to the annual Americade motorcycle rally in Lake George, the tranquility of the Olympics village was broken.  Men and women in black garments from head to toe, robust and ruddy, came to Lake Placid to chill out. They drank, they ate, they shopped, they laughed, they photographed. Watching them with their cool bikes enriched our visit in that neck of woods.

Personally, I had never seen such a large scale motorcycle event. The recent one I saw was in New Orleans’ French Quarter but the attendees of the Americade definitely outnumbered those of the motorbike festival in Big Easy. Standing next to a muscular motorcyclist, I felt like an inconspicuous chipmunk facing life-or-death in front of an elephant foot.

I think the denizens of Lake Placid are still proud of their Winter Olympics history as well as their existing winter sports facilities, which serve as a training ground for Olympic athletes. I don’t know if it was the side effect of my recent trip to Southern Louisiana, but suddenly in upstate New York, I was race conscious. The winter sports in America are dominated by white people. I remember the two times I went to see the NHL games, I didn’t  spot a single African-American player. The same situation happened when I was in Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Ski Resort. As an Asian, I was the only person of color there.

Anyway, sports have no boundary of age, nationality and race. As a Chinese, I think it is more noticeable in America than in China, for example, to observe athletes of different colors.

Speaking of international sports events… sadly, as the World Cup 2010 is going on at the moment, I don’t feel the exhilarating frenzy in America as much as that in the rest of the world. If I were in China now, I would be sleepless to watch our favorite teams and to follow the results with my friends even though China is out of the game.

If only Americans could devote one tenth of their passion for their national sports to the World Cup, we might make a small step toward understanding the rest of the world.

Our day trip ended quickly as we couldn’t get close to Lake Placid due to the million dollar houses around the lake. We stayed most of our time by Mirror Lake, which shares its waterfront with the public. At one point I had an aversion to the upper class for their selfishness of privatizing the lake view. All we could see on the two-mile long lakefront drive were bushes and mega mansions. That’s not what I wanted and expected to see. If a seclusion of the lake for individuals is the only way to make the lake placid, then the lake resort is surely a fiasco.


Filed under: Prose, Songyi Zhang's America