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One World, One Dream…(part 2)

August 20, 2008

The Venues


So after watching the closing ceremonies last night, I was re-energized about the Olympics—as an American trying to follow the games in Hong Kong, I had a rough time this week, missing most of the events that I wanted to see because our networks were showing ping pong, Taekwondo, handball, and more ping pong.


The next set of photos is from our time on ‘the Green.’  We headed straight there once we’d checked into our hotel the first afternoon.  After we got through security check #1, our guides ushered us into the nearby adidas Hospitality Suite, where we helped ourselves to complimentary food and drinks.  The day was just reaching its peak of heat and humidity, so the wise person would have used the chance to hydrate, but of course, as a matter of principle, yours truly does NOT pass up free beer.    


To give you a sense of Beijing Olympic geography, the spectacular Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube both inhabit ‘the Green’ and are right across a large plaza from each other.  I’m horrible with judging distances (in kilometers OR miles) but a walk from one end of the Olympic Green—the official Olympic souvenir store—to the other—Bird’s Nest and Water Cube—feels about like strolling between the Washington Monument and the steps of the Capitol in DC.   Along the way you see several other event venues, as well as lots of sponsor “staging” buildings (i.e. really fancy advertising).  The adidas one was a mandatory stop for us, and I have to admit it was pretty cool.  Lots of Olympic history with athletes in the three stripes.  (The picture of the picture of Jesse Owens, for example, is from inside the adidas building.)


Eventually we made it to the Water Cube.  I think the photos speak for themselves.             


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The Food


I can’t resist closing this post (and yes, I’m out of steam, so sightseeing and volleyball will have to wait until part 3) with the details about couple lunches we ate while in China.


day 1 lunch: We arrived Beijing airport around noon, and as always, we were hungry after the flight (which actually doesn’t make sense when you think about it—why would sitting around for 3 hours whet the appetite?).  Accommodatingly, our guide, a Beijing native, called ahead to a restaurant and ordered “a few dishes”; 5 courses later, we were ready for the bill, and THEN the Peking Duck (see picture) arrived.


day 4 lunch: After a full morning of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, we needed to grab a bite before heading to the airport.  We stopped at Houhai, a popular spot for nightlife consisting of a (manmade?) lake surrounded by dozens of bars and restaurants.  Christoph ordered a diet Coke that, when poured out of the can, looked like water with specks of dirt floating around. Expiration date? March 2007. But the food was marvelous.


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