Another missive from Donella Adrian in Beijing:
Wow! I can’t believe that two days have past already (I
think?). Two days ago we went to the Great Wall with
Elaine Breeden’s family. It was so much fun. Once
again lots of sweat and crazy Chinese vendors.
Their favorite phrase when you barter with them is “No money, me
make no money”. Like you are offending them by
lowballing them. But, truly being made in China is NOT a
novel concept. And if I am going to pay $50 for a “silk”
robe I’ll just buy it in the states.
I think the Breeden’s got a kick out of watching me barter with
them, because I don’t think they are very offendable.
Usually if you just walk away they will chase you down and
accept your original offer. My guidebook says to offer
10% of their first offer. But, I truly think things in
Beijing are currently overpriced. We seem to be able to
do better in Shangai.
After the Great Wall we ended up back at Bank of America for
dinner and to get some free tickets for the next day. We
ended up with free tickets to Men’s Gymnastics Finals.
And let’s just say we know very little about gymnastics.
But, truly they have about four different events going on at
the same time. And for simple swimming folk we have
enough trouble paying attention to one heat at a time.
So, needless to say it was confusing and interesting. We
sat next to Melanie Roach’s (weight lifter from Bonney Lake)
husband and son Ethan who also got tickets from BOA.
All the venues are quite stuffed with Chinese people and China
pride! From what I hear even when the Chinese are not
competing they will be chanting “China” or “Gai Yao” which is
China in Chinese. The swimming tickets have been so
difficult to get, yet there are thousands of Chinese that were
able to get tickets??? Weird.
After Gymnastics Nathan met up
with us. That was probably the highlight of the
day. In the Olympic Park they have many
concession stands all have boxed lunches (rice and
questionable chicken), eggs, ice cream and soda or they have
two McDonalds. So I am very disturbed to report that we
ate McDonald’s for breakfast and lunch yesterday!
I think I will have to go on a detox diet when I get
home. I thought
the boxed lunch would be better so we had that for dinner,
but questionable chewy chicken is not my idea of
healthy. I think we will stick to BOA food from now
Nathan was able to visit with us for about an hour then he
headed to the village for a meeting and to apply for a
visitors pass for mom and I to get into the village.
There is something like a 48-96 hour waittime for that, so who
knows if it will work out. We did decide to extend our
stay in our red-light district hotel by one more night.
We head to Shanghai Friday night instead of Thursday.
Our hotel is funny we get a phone call in our room EVERY night
when we get home with some lady asking us “massage in
room?”. Can you say shady……first off how do they know
when we get home and who do they think we are?
I offended one of them one night by saying “GROSS, NO WAY!”
and she sassily said “OK” and hung up.
After lunch with Nathan we wandered around the Olympic Venue,
which is HUGE! Every vendor GE, levopro, Audi, Coca
Cola, Johnson&Johnson, The Bank of China has a MASSIVE
building to walk through talking about Chinese culture and
their product. We wandered through a few of them mostly
because they are air conditioned. The Cube is on one side
of the park and the “Official” megastore is on the other, it
took us most of the afternoon to get down there and we
took the subway back.
Let’s just say the Chinese do not do anything on a small
scale! Everything here is massive.
Then we went to prelims of swimming last night and wandered
around the Venue, which is pretty at nigt. I thought my
allergies were acting up as soon as I got here, but now I
think someting is settling in my system as a sinus
infection. I haven’t started antibiotics, but if
it doesn’t improve when I get to Shanghai then I will (thank
you to Pamela!). So, by the end of the day I was
beat. We went home I took some medicine and we crashed
after we graciously declined our “massage”.
All well rested this AM we went to see Mao’s mosoleum.
What an odd place. I would be truly suprised if it is
really him. But, the Chinese people think it is.
He is the founder of communist China.
And there were THOUSANDS of people who were going throug there
at the same time. You can’t bring in any bags so we went
one at a time. There are people buying flowers to leave for
him and bowing and paying their respects. He looked
pretty waxy to me?
When we got on the subway to head to the Heavenly Temple
swimming was on TV, 100 freestyle semi-finals. So I
stopped and watched it with a French guy.
The Heavenly Temple was pretty. A huge park, as big as the
Forbidden City. Lots of locals dancing and playing
musical instruments throughout the park. The actual
temple itself was pretty, but after you have seen one you feel
like you have seen them all. For any of you who have
been to Epcot the China exhibit there is a replica of
the Heavenly Temple.
Now we are back at Bank of America looking up the rest of the
swimming results and getting some comfort among fellow
Americans. I think that mom and I both feel like we are
almost missing the Olympics. I can watch them on TV in
Chinese with Chinese commentary, but it isn’t NBC.
It’s so odd being here. The atmosphere is undescribable
but I am tired of hearing how great the Chinese are.
Even on English TV it is all about how amazing the Chinese
are. The only other foreigner’s they admire are Aaron
Piersol after the 100 Back and of course Michael Phelps.
We are looking for some tickets to events tomorrow. I
think after today I will have seen all of Beijing that I care
to see. Frankly I am tired of little Chinese people
pushing me and having very little etiquette in the sense of
waiting turns. Sounds pretty simple I know but even at
the store they do not always help whoever is next.
Usually whoever is the pushiest gets on the Subway first or
helped first. I have a great picture of me on a patio at
the heavenly temple in line and the patio is about 2-3 feet
wide. I have my bag on one side of me and my elbow up on
the other, there is a line of about twenty Chinese people
behind me, but I wouldn’t let them pass for 15 seconds so I
could get a picture!!
I would love to spend some more time with Nathan, but he has to
attend all of the rest of the sessions. And since it
takes over an hour to get anywere we havs to stay in the Venue
or meet somewhere close. I do not think he has left the
compound once! He said he was getting tired of all the
rules for them and there is a 1 AM curfew. But, several
of the guys who are sponsored by TYR and Speedo are
getting hotel rooms from their sponsors when they are
done. So he is planning on crashing with Matt Grievers
or Ben Wildman-Tobriner when they get a room. I guess he
will check out of the village so he doesn’t have a curfew
One last note. Nathan will be getting a gold medal for
competing in prelims of the relay. Quite a few people
have e-mailed me to ask me. So when we see it we will take a
picture of it and send it your way. Mom says she doesn’t trust
him with it and thinks she should take it home for him 🙂
. If she gets away with that I will let you know.
We are taking home some USA gear for him. He says they
gave him too much. So Justin you might have some
shopping to do in Nathan’s luggage before it heads to
SF. Nathan’s coach has agreed to let him come home for a few
extended weekends in the fall. He hasn’t been home since
Christmas! And he doesn’t have to get in the water until
Talk to you all later
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