Olympi-mania

Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Flag of China  ,
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Good news!

Only 309 more days till the Summer 2008 Olympic Games!

Wait, you're not excited?

Well, Beijing is, and the city and its residents are flying high on Olympic enthusiasm. In Guangdong province, where we live, we often see advertising or promotions involving the Olympics--McDonald's toy giveaways with the meals; merchandise being sold printed with the Olympic mascots; advertisements featuring Olympic ping pong athletes...but it's truly low-profile there compared to Beijing.

Topping our list, yesterday while eating dinner we watched a cartoon where the main characters were the Olympic mascots (designed to look like a panda, bird, antelope-thingy, torch, and fish). We also watched a 10-minute tea-pouring ceremony featuring different teas symbolizing the colors of the Olympic five-ring logo that preluded a variety show of Peking Opera, Chinese Kung fu and other classic arts.


Dan and I, here for a week-long taste-test of all things Beijing, have compiled our own list of possible new Olympic sports:

* Ceramic flowerpot juggling, like the man we watched at the variety show
* Pedicab vs. bus racing (Hmm.. it's close...)
* Pedestrian vs. taxi racing (Walking wins!)
* Lugie hocking/Spitting (So far, looks like Dan's going for bronze!)
* Tiananmen Square obstacle course manoevering (The obstacles are all human)
* Selling Olympic memorobilia
* Forbidden City photo-taking

We're not just here to ridicule the Olympics and the giant hopes that the Chinese nation has pinned to their international hosting debut, though. 

Yesterday we spent eight hours roaming the Forbidden City, which Dan now lists as one of the coolest things he's ever seen. It really is as big as they say it is. In our eight-hour inspection of this ancient complex of palaces and rooms for ritual we still neglected to see several exhibits and the main halls were closed for renovation, preparing this mega-tourist attraction for, guess what, the Olympics. We're estimating that we saw 100 rooms out of a possible 8,000.
The day before, we arrived in Beijing, found our hostel in an old hutong (low-rise residential neighborhood that reminds us of Morocco's twisting bazaars) and checked out Tiananmen Square.

October first was Chinese National Day, and basically the whole country is on vacation, so visiting such an important national monument on October second was more of an opportunity to people-watch (and people-dodge) than to take in the grandeur of the site, but we figured the square was built to hold a million people, we should check out what it looks like full.

Pictures will follow, once we're back in Foshan. Tonight, the Great Wall!
 
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Where I stayed
Leo's Hostel

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