I love my sister’s apartment in Beijing. Right now I am sitting on her 13-floor balcony overlooking the City. From my view I can see new shopping malls and Olympic venues. I can also see older apartment buildings that remind me of my days in Washington DC. Beijing reminds me a lot of DC. The transportation is very similar and our lifestyle (at least this week) is much the same. Wake up. Grab some breakfast. Run downstairs and grab the paper. Head out the door and walk two blocks to the metro. Metro to the Olympic Green (along with the masses that are traveling to work). Enjoy our day at the Games and grab the metro home. If we want to go out for dinner in the evening, we either walk to the metro or grab a bus or cab.
Metro is free (if you have an Olympic ticket for the day). Most of the metro lines just opened in the last year, so it is modern, new and very clean. The bus ride is 1 RMB (US equivalent is about 30 or 40 cents). The cab ride is 10 to 12 RMB for about a 10 minute ride (or about $1.40).
And there’s my favorite mode of transportation…the little guy on the bike with the carriage on the back. He too, charges 10 RMB for a 10-minute ride, but somehow I feel we should be paying him more.
For Day 2 we had tickets to two events: Artistic Gymnastics – Women’s All-Around Finals. I didn’t blog last night because I didn’t want to blow the surprise. We Won! TWICE! It was pretty amazing to watch Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson take home those medals. The girls and I were waving the flags and wearing our Frisco shirts and crying along with them when the played the National Anthem. It’s very cool to watch a local girl take home the Gold.
In the evening Craig and the girls got to see both swimming and diving at the Water Cube. They watched the diving practice (my husband photographer was in heaven here!) as well as some swimming heats.
Because we only had three tickets to each event, Craig and I split the events with the girls. Needless to say, our two little ones fell asleep really fast last night.
My free evening gave me a chance to go to dinner with my sister, something we don’t get to do very often. She took us to one of her favorite Italian restaurants where we had great pasta and wine and caught up on each other’s lives. And on the way home (I convinced her to take the bike with the carriage)…we crashed the USA House.
The USA House is the Headquarters/hangout for the USA Team. The athletes come here to relax, hang out and watch the events. It is exclusive access for the athletes, their families and other US diplomatic personnel. Most importantly, it is the exclusive site for US Olympic Team clothing! My sister’s diplomatic credentials got us in and my VISA got us out.
We made it home to a tired, but overwhelmingly fun day. So far, no problem transitioning to a 12-hour time change, but our schedule has been non-stop and the girls have crashed fast!
I’m only one day behind on the “the blog.” Craig and Cathy are headed to the vegetable market in the morning, so I will catch you up on Day 3 before we head to the Quarterfinal match of Women’s Beach Volleyball. Then we have to hit the Silk Market and have our fitting with the Lisa’s Taylor Shop before heading to Hong Kong really early on Monday Morning. I’ll send you more from there!