Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Impressions from China - Inside the Nest

We finally made it into the Bird's Nest on Monday. The structure is impressive albeit smaller than it looks in pictures & on TV. The Olympic Green is vast, containing not only the Bird's Nest & Water Cube, but also the National Indoor Stadium (left in pic below) & the Fencing Hall (right in pic below).



Inside the Nest

Being a public holiday (Mid-Autumn Festival), it was stupendously crowded but surprisingly, the lines going through security were civilised with none of that queue-cutting business that can be so prevalent in China.No points for guessing what this structure is!

We watched the Paralympians compete: the amputees, the visually-impaired, the ones with CP, the vertically challenged (I don't know of a politically correct way of saying "short" people :)...sorry), & some whom, for the life of me, I couldn't tell that they had any kind of disability, they were running so fast!

Shot-putt athletes - vertically challenged category

Seeing the Olympic torch in person was pretty awe-inspiring. I can't imagine what it must have been like at both Opening ceremonies when the torch was so dramatically lit.



London has a REALLY tough act to follow...

Impressions from China - Tainted Milk (again)

What is WRONG with these people???!!!

Once again, China is embroiled in another food tainting scandal, again, affecting babies mostly. Milk is the most fundamental nutritional necessity for young children, & yet, China's wonderfully ethical people are willing to risk these young lives for the sake of the almighty Yuan. Sorry if I am generalizing but this has me fuming.

No matter how wonderful the Beijing Olympics may have been at face value, underneath it all, these detestable acts are still going on. One of the affected brands, Yili, is even a Beijing Olympic sponsor & bears this logo
on its packaging, which means that this product was produced in an environmentally friendly way. Yeah, right. Save the environment; kill the babies.

Sorry if I sound so skeptical. But I am in a crummy mood.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Impressions from China - Beijing Paralympics 2008 - Cycling

I went to the Beijing Olympics Velodrome today to watch the Cycling event of the Paralympics. I figured it was a great way to check out the venue & at the same time, watch these amazing athletes who don't let their disabilities hold them back from what they want to do & excel at it.

The Velodrome

The Velodrome is situated in the south-western part of Beijing - it took us over an hour & a half to get there! The heavy traffic didn't make it any easier - so much for the odd-even number arrangement (which is still in place till at least Sept 20). In any case, the first sight of the Velodrome was an awesome one. It resembles a UFO. Inside, it's spanking new, but the seats are not for the acrophobic as there are no banisters to help you climb up the steps in the spectator seats, & nothing to prevent you from falling down to the lower levels of the seats!

Inside the UFO

It was amazing (& humbling) watching the parathletes compete; some were amputees, cycling with only one arm & one leg; others were visually impaired, riding on tandem bikes with a pilot in front to guide the way; yet others had cerebral palsy of varying severity. All rode at speeds faster than what I could ever probably achieve!

Outside the Velodrome

At times, we were trying to figure out what kind of disability they had. We didn't mean to be insensitive, but they were so good, that it was sometimes hard to tell that they even HAD any disability!

Amputee -Category LC3


Visually Impaired - Category B/VI


video
Video of part of the LC3 event (this cyclist only had one arm & one leg...but look at him go!!!)


Medal Ceremony

We watched the Medal Ceremony of the Cerebral Palsy category in which Great Britain won, & I believe, broke the world record! Somehow, something about seeing the flags going up as the national anthem of whichever country won the gold medal brings up the emotions in me & makes me tear up!

Next up - the Bird's Nest athletics event next week! Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Whew

It's been a crazily busy summer. Hence my infrequent blogging entries.

Two trips to opposite sides of the world - visiting colleges, visiting family, sightseeing; moving house (note to self - it doesn't matter if you move halfway across the world or just around the corner, packing/unpacking/sorting stuff out involves pretty much the same amount of work) ; a health scare within the family which has turned out well in the end, thank God, & last week, a busy busy week welcoming new families to school (I volunteer in the PTA).

I can finally breathe, & I now need a vacation (planning one now...hopefully will work out & we will get to see one of the natural wonders of the world: Jiuzhaigou in October)

:)