Category: Beijing 2008

… it’s all because of the olympics.

I’m a horrible blogger, but I’m sure you already knew that. LiveJournal was unblocked last week, and I got extremely happy only to find it reblocked two days later. Such is the Internet here! Oh Chinese censorship, how will I ever deal with your perpetual mood swings? I just arrived in Shanghai, so I’m going to be here for a few days, and then next Sunday I’m off to NY. I realize that I’m overdue for a blog post or two, and since I have massive amounts of free time, I’ll start now.

Being in a host city for the Olympics is an experience. There are so many inconveniences1 abound, but being able to see the actual games live and in-person makes you forget about all of that. I got really good2 seats for the track and field events on Sunday, August 17th. We got there a bit early, so we walked around the Olympic Green, stalked the Fuwa3, and took pictures. Because I uploaded a buttload, I don’t want to bog down this page with a billion huge photos. If you click the thumbnails, you should get a larger version of the photo.








Basically, it was six straight hours of pure, unadulterated excitement. They covered women’s 100m hurdles, men’s hammer throw, men’s long jump, women’s triple jump, women’s 3000m steeplechase, women’s 400m hurdles, women’s 400m run, women’s 100m dash, men’s 1500m run, men’s 10,000m run, and a few medal ceremonies from the night before’s events. And I used to run two of those events, so bonus points! Any photo you want me to elaborate upon, just ask. 🙂

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1: … such as avoiding the subway/bus for safety’s sake, not being able to get train tickets to other cities, clubs/bars closing down, quiz night cancellation, et al. Funny how most of those things aren’t even directly related to the Oly games. Seriously, QUIZ NIGHT? What gives? Not to mention, every time I’d go to the Olympic flagship store to buy souvenirs for friends (and ….. er, myself), the crowds would get worse and worse each time. The crowds are enough to give anybody the worst case of claustrophobia. I even sympathized with an employee who had been screamed at by hordes of little kids. And they even veiled the huge Fuwa displays as the Olympics neared just so people wouldn’t take pictures in the middle of the store, causing major traffic jams and holdups. As if that store needed anymore!
2: FIRST TIER, baby. It really comes in handy because you can actually see the athletes. It doesn’t come in handy when you want to see every single event upclose. For example, the 100m dash was on the direct opposite end of the stadium, so I could only check out the huge screens on the side. If major neck craning isn’t your cup of tea, second/third tier would probs be the way to go.
3: Oh, I love those Fuwa. On the top of my wishlist is a giant Nini Fuwa for my room this year. Granted, it’ll probably take up half the space and shipping charges would be up the wazoo, but it’s so hard for me to say no to giant Fuwa. Anywho, I highly, highly insist that you watch this Fuwa promo that’s been way overplayed here but much adored. Then I insist that you watch this little gem.

加油! 加油! 加油!

Remember that one time I started a blog, hoping that I would update it regularly? Hmm, about that. 🙂

Anyway, Olympic frenzy is well and alive here in Beijing. The Opening Ceremony last Friday was very A+, by the way. Zhang Yimou did a really great job that I even sat through all four hours. (Yes, including all 200-some countries.)1 If you missed it, I recommend that you look it up on YouTube; it’s really something spectacular! As for events, I’m most excited for swimming, gymnastics, diving, and track/field. (Unfortunately, CCTV is absolute crap when it comes to airing them.2 And even worse, I have to miss most of those events because I’m in class during the morning and afternoon. What I wouldn’t give to stay on the couch and watch TV.) And speaking of, I got track and field tickets, Fuwa merch3, and Beijing 2008 flags —- so I’m set!

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footnotes:

1: I’m mostly talking about the actual performance, since the procession of all the countries took … a while, to say the least. I thought it was cool how they went in order by taking the first Chinese character of each country name and going by number of character strokes, but I think that novelty eventually wore off. What can I say, it made a really interesting Chinese lesson; now I know more country names than I ever did before.

2: Case in point: Saturday night, I was frantically flipping through CCTV because swimming took place from 6:30-9:30 pm. And none of the CCTV channels were airing it at the time, so I refreshed the Olympic pages on the Internet every five minutes just to find out if swimming was indeed happening. They finally started airing it at 9:30pm, but the excitement was kinda lost, since I had already gotten all the heat results from the Internet. Sigh! And they aired the fencing semifinals but didn’t air the fencing finals, which is such a shame because HELLO, USA MEDAL SWEEP?! At least Sunday morning’s swimming finals got aired at the right time.

3: Fuwa are SO cute. I want to buy out the entire Olympic flagship store, because they have everything Fuwa-related. Chopsticks, towels, crystals, backpacks, you name it. Betcha can’t guess which one’s my favourite. 🙂