Visiting Nathan, The Wall (Redux) and Gymnastics

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 on.

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 anymore.

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 October!

Talk to you all later

Donella

2 thoughts on “Visiting Nathan, The Wall (Redux) and Gymnastics

  1. Let’s face it: with all the world records that are being broken in the pool, I’m beginning to believe the water is juiced. Roger Clemens is the pool boy.

  2. China won the olympics with 51 gold medals. usa is a falling world power. the economy is in ruins and your soldiers are getting killed every day in Iraq. u people could atleast show some humility. u call Chinese tv bias? Bias is NBC, CBS, FOX NEWS, CNN. NBC coverage of the games sucked. all they show is that micahel phelps. u have bias commentators bitching and moaning when ever the americans got beat. usa clearly showed to the world, they have no concept of sportsmanship.

Comments are closed.