Olympic Glory Stories
Trip Start Jan 20, 2008
53Trip End ??? ??, 2010
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Knee How, that is Chinese for Hello, Ni Hao!
We kicked it off with Track & Field in the Birdsnest. We scalped our tickets at the subway station - all our training in Southeast Asia paid off and we scored some steal deals on all our tickets, including gold-medal matches. Got to see Usain Bolt qualify for the 200m, he looked like he was just taking it easy, lazing his way through it! We watched him break the record the next night peeking thru the window of a bar, which was almost as exciting as being there. Also got to see CU Boulder grad Kara Goucher qualify in the 5000m, WOO HOO! She married the Adam Goucher that won state cross country the year Ing got 3rd (he had a sprained ankle and ran a 14:30, supreme!)
Here is a list of the menu at the Birdsnest, and all other Olympic venues: Sausage. Cake. Bread. Tea. Chips. The sausage came on a stick, and the Bread was a bag of 5 white bread lumps. I don't know if we expected a healthier selection of Olympic cuisine in the spirit of athleticism, or maybe a little more of a culinary show-off for the world, since that's how Beijing has approached everything else Olympic, but I guess something had to win the gold medal in Crap. And make us laugh:) However, the beers were cheaper than at any sporting event or bar we have ever attended, and you could buy them unlimited by the cratefull. That scored a big high five. Also, outside of the stadium, you could buy the standard giant noodle soup bucket, but we opted for the Self Heating meal. It was a box of rice and stirfry something, and it was a science experiment - you put the bag of white powder over the little baggie of water, then you open the rice, close the box, pull the string and it starts steaming like a teakettle! Pretty ingenious, but pretty not yum.
USA vs. Brazil gold medal match in women's soccer, we got one ticket for free and paid 100Yuan for the other. Face value was 800 yuan a piece and it included the Bronze medal match! After our paparazzi press time outstide the stadium, we watched the ladies win in the rain, surrounded by 10,000 Chinese in yellow poncho's yelling Jai Yo
USA vs. Brazil gold medal match in men's beach volleyball - this was unlike any other Olympic event, it had the air of a pool party, with Brazillians cheerleaders in cowboy hats, rock music, misting machines, pijou (beer) and a dude in an American flag Evil Kanevil suit
In general, Chinese people do not clap at events to show their appreciation, they shake and wave things. We first learned this on our 12 hour ride on the sleeper bus making our way through Southern China - to keep you distracted from the fear of the insane driving on the narrow mountain roads, or from your iminent death by second hand smoke, they would show some DVD movies etc. The first one was pretty risque - slighlty dressed ladies in high boots dancing to pop songs. There was also a pole envolved. A little shocking for the public bus! Then they showed some traditional Chinese Opera, does anyone know what i'm talkin about? Then they showed a concert video of a pretty famous Chinese pop star, and when he would finish each song, after singing his heart out, the camera would pan to the audience who were sitting there in a silent frenzy, waving their little light up toys and fans and things. So that being said, the no clapping thing was addressed for the Olympics, some public relations people on the organizing committees for the games came up with some tips and cheers to help them get in the spirit, which were published in city magazines/papers etc. This is one that we read: Clap twice, extend each arm with thumbs us, chanting Jai Yo (which literally means "I Am" ) At least they all do it and with massive enthusiasm - we have decided that the USA cheer of "U...S...A" has got to go and we will make it our mission before London 2002 to create and spread some good cheers that do not suck. Holland House! Each country supposedly has a "House" where fans, athletes, etc go to celebrate in communal olympic spirit