Best 'not-going-to-the-gym' excuse ever!

I tried to go to the gym this morning and failed. But I don't feel too bad - because it's pretty hard to go to the gym when it's on fire! There's no possible way I can feel guilty about not working out when I did my best, but was prevented by a giant, life-threatening blaze. It's the best excuse ever. And in this case, it's even true.

On my way into the office this morning (yes, I know it's a Saturday but I'm trying not to dwell on that too much), I thought I would be really good and go to the gym. So I dragged my ass out of bed, threw on some sweats and stumbled out the door.

As I got closer to the gym, thick black plumes of smoke caught my attention. They seemed to be coming from exactly where my gym is, and as I got closer it became apparant that this was a serious fire. The street I needed to get to was blocked off by police, so I took my place with the hundred other Chinese rubber-neckers watching the scenario unfold.

It was actually a small house next door to my gym that had gone up in flames, and even from my position 50 metres away, there was a lot of heat. On the roof, the flames began licking the children's clothes that were still hanging on the clothesline.

Dozens of Chinese firefighters - who looked disturbingly like children in costume for a 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' fancy dress party - swarmed the site, putting up ladders and scurrying around with purpose.

Having not woken up long before this, I wasn't exacty in top mental form and it took several minute for me to realise that the building behind the one on fire - the one I was standing directly across the road from - was a gas station!

I'm not sure how far is a safe distance to be away from an exploding gas station, but I thought I would give myself the best chance of being as far away as possible and took off  back the way I came. From my position a safe distance away (where this photo was taken from), it still looks like it's going strong.

If you are in the Jing An area, steer clear of Yanping Lu.