Thursday, August 07, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games 2008 » Beijing haze getting inside swimming center

Beijing Olympic Games 2008 » Beijing haze getting inside swimming center Some United States and Australian swimmers have reported seeing haze even inside the Swimming Center or Water Cube.
“[Monday,] they said it was the worst it’s been,” Erik Vendt, a member of the American 800-meter freestyle relay team, said yesterday. “It was horrible. It was almost laughable, it was so bad. I came into [the Aquatics Center] and I didn’t know if it was my eyes, but I definitely saw something. It was definitely hazy in here.”
Some swimmers including Grant Hackett however, have said it is not a problem.
“If people start coughing and sputtering all over the place, it will be an issue, but hopefully not,” Hackett said.
Hackett has it right. Don't be a cry baby. Get up and go. And, do it with your mouth shut.

There are a number of dimensions to report and blog about this.

First of all, we were there this morning. We didn't get inside the Olympic Green where the Water Cube and Birds Nest are. Bowever, we were able to see the outside of the buildings from a block or two away. We could see em -- but -- the view was milky. Right. It is hot, hazy and humid. Sultry was the word used by one broadcaster.

In our apartment, with the air on -- it is wonderful.

But we biked for four hours today -- and didn't hurl blood. We lived.

It was great seeing some of the other joggers too. There is an Olympic Forest just north of the Olympic Green. We biked along both the east and west roads that go into the venues. Plus the sixth ring road. I think it was sixth. There are two roads that cars can NOT go on -- other than police and officials, plus the buses.

This place is tighter than a drum with security and monitors and police and everything. There is a show of force like I've never seen. I wasn't there in the days after 4 were killed in O-Hi-O. But that was about tension and National Guardsmen at every parking meter in Athens, Ohio -- and elsewhere. This is epic too.

The information booths are packed with volunteers. The colors on the shirts of workers are everywhere. The banners are all along the fences. No barbed wire. No armored guards, generally. But the place is covered with layers and layers of people on duty. They are doing well. They are ever present.

We passed a few Olympic athletes out for their morning runs. One coach on roller blades while the female athlete ran. No masks. None needed. I told our line of bikers (family) that we'd do a U turn the next time we saw a training run that looked interesting.

We were a sight to be seen as well. I was generally at the front of the line -- wearing the bike helmets and gloves, as are the boys. Plus I put on the green and yellow Phonak bike suit to keep my bottom from shredding. Plus, I'm on a no-geared pink local bike with a narly black basket on the handlebars. Its seat is way, way too low -- so I ride often standing on the pedals.

A Canadian biker -- perhaps a BMX guy -- went past us while we were stopped. I didn't notice him until he was 20-meters away and departing quickly. But Catherine did notice him -- and he was doing a triple take of me.

The atheles are generally wearing their national colors.

I do not know what it is like at the rowing or canoe venue. There it would be impossible to see the majority of the course. That is 30-k away from the center city.

The roads are like Christchurch, NZ now. Think of Pittsburgh roads on a typical Sunday morning. Some drivers -- but often the side lanes are empty with only a few cars every few moments. There isn't gridlock even at the height of the morning rush hour. Heavy traffic on the ring roads, of course. But not bad at all.

Beijing is also a 9-5 (err, 9 to 9) city. The song says New York never sleeps. Well, Beijing does. At night the lights are out and the people are too. Not that I'm at the night clubs and discos. But the neighorhood streets are quiet and empty. Even by 6 am, things are still sleepy.

The Olympic Village was very cool to see. I know Erik and Grant got a kick out of biking past that part of our trip today. We could see the 6-story buildings, all new, all with many flags hanging from the windows and mini-balcony. All types of flags. People walking and playing beteen the buildings. Kicking balls, hitting badminton, stretching.

In a way, to me, it felt as if we were biking past the zoo before it had opened and we could see the interesting wildlife on the other side of the fences. Here, other than zoo with small cages, think of a wildlife game preserve. We were on the outside, glances to the side to look in.

The other side of the road has other buildings, generally much taller and filled with residents. They were greated with guards and lots of issues with 'parking' and 'auto use' I imagine. They too had come out to peek at us and others. Many were headed to work.

It must be a pain to live next to the Civic Arena -- and/or new Pens Arena. Heinz Field neighbors, well, the North Siders are on their own for complaints. These folks have to live next to the Olympics for the next 18 days. Ouch. Unlike Woodstock, there are plenty of places to park the buses and use the port-o-johns. Grant hit one, and it was the hold in the ground style.

I'll try to get photos going in the next day. Then you can see the haze yourself.

We've been perfect as to our systems and food. The bag of Twizlers helped on day one when we couldn't tell if we were hungry or just in a jet lag funk. Then we didn't have a refrig that worked either. So, we were not keen to buy groceries.

Boxes (mid sized) of Cheerios were found at WalMart -- for 17 RMB. Too costly. I could knock that off in 2 sittings. Rather our breakfast sandwich place locally has them for 2.5 RMB. Egg and pork and outside bread-like / bagle-like top and bottom. They don't eat cereal. I swear by it. I'm going gold turkey (slag) so far. Hong Kong had decent choices / selections of cereal. Not so much in Chengdu, other than in the gift show of Grandma's Kitchen. And, we saw a Beijing Grandma's Kitchen -- right next to the Olympic Venues. I didn't know it was a chain.

Good night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Kent State Massacre happened in Kent, OH, not Athens, OH. Ohio University is in Athens.