Saturday, August 2, 2008

A bit like Disney on steroids

So Beijing is a bit like Disney on Steroids. Colorful, Big, Clean, Orderly.

I can't even begin to describe how big and impressive all the buildings here are. The Chinese have certainly pulled out all of the stops in order to make this the most impressive Olympics ever. And there's just no way it won't be. From what I've been hearing about Athens in 04, that place was just barely put together in time (and probably held together by duct tape) They didn't even plant grass in Athens - they just ran out of time. And the locals weren't excited about hosting the games so apparently people were rude and not very accommodating. Not here!!! But it's a bit like going to someones house and being greeted by the son who's been trained to say "May I take your coat ma'am?" Everyone is on their best behavior with perfect manners. Most people speak a bit of English so that's a relief. But I'm guessing they probably had English training according to their job assignment - when we went through security, they knew how to say "wait here please" "arms to the side please" "bags here please" but we were trying to talk to one of the guys and learn how to say "thank you" (sha sha) but then he couldn't translate/understand "super".... which, I mean, come on - that's my staple word! How am I going to get by?

That aquatic Center is.... I can't even describe it with words. It's just gorgeous. It really does look like bubbles. And then when you get closer, you can see the bones of the structure and I think they constructed it to look like DNA molecules. SO COOL. It just took my breath away - I couldn't stop taking pictures. It was only 7pm when we walked over there, but it was already getting dark and it was pretty smoggy. There's no time zones in China so I think it gets dark here pretty early. But honestly, it was sort of raining, sort of smoggy, so it was hard to tell if it was getting dark or just gloomy.

The NBC portion of the IBC is enormous. It's practically 1/4 of the first floor and here's how big this building is... I think the NBC area covers about 2 blocks. It's quite a hike from the front to the back. The main studio is right down the hall from me so it'll be good for my Micheal Phelps stalking.... oh! and David Blake. And I've promised a Dara Torres autograph to someone so I'll have to stalk her down too.

some random stuff:
- A giant cicada (I think) flew right in front of us as we were walking last night. The thing was the size of a small softball!!! I totally let out a girl shriek.
- Last night they were doing sound checks in front of the Bird's Nest so the entire time that we were walking around we heard "The sound you are hearing is to detect the quality of my voice" in about 4 different languages, over and over and over and over again. And loud!!
- All of the Olympic volunteers have to wear this blue and white shirt so it basically looks like every single chinese person has a uniform of blue and white shirts.
- During processing we were standing in a group waiting for our passports to be handed back to me and guess who was right behind me? Lester Holt! Way handsome in person. And now he's totally stalking me. I keep seeing him everywhere. He has super dorky queer glasses that he totally pulls off somehow.
- It's gross humid here. Your skin gets damp the second you step outside. Luckily every building is air conditioned like it's trying to keep raw meat fresh. I mean, it is COLD in here. And I don't get cold very easily. There's a ton of talk about how this is the "green" Olympics and such - but man.... with what they're expending on air conditioning, they might as well just be strangling polar bears outside.

Opening ceremonies are only 7 days away!! This week will be calm and easy but it'll get crazy starting the 7th. And I can't wait.


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