Today (8/8/09) marks the beginning of the one year anniversary of the Beijing Olympics, an event which through a fortuitous work-related coincidence, I was able to attend first hand. Looking back, here are some of my favorite memories of those seventeen days.
-Taking a cab on the second ring road during rush hour and moving faster than the bicyclists.
-While relaxing leisurely and sipping on Tsingtaos with the other Americans, glancing across the stadium and observing the several thousand rabid Japanese fans yelling, screaming “gambani nippon,” waving banners, and participating in group cheers. The only thing missing was the big drums (they weren’t allowed to bring them in).
-Looking West out over a sky bridge on the third ring road and noticing for the very first time that Beijing actually has mountains within sight range.
-Seeing 13 live Olympic events for roughly the price of a football game at Soldier Field
-Stting in the same section as Kobe Bryant for the soccer semi-finals, and then listening as half the stadium proceeded to chant “Kobe, Kobe” for twenty minutes straight.
-Finding the Beijing Subway system to finally be remotely useful (thanks to line 5 and line 10)
-Watching Fuwa faceplant at halfcourt during a basketball game
-Meeting interesting people from all over the world, exchanging contact information and promising to keep in touch, and then never contacting any of them.
So what’s next for China? I wouldn’t be surprised if as soon as the World Expo is complete we start to hear grumblings about Shanghai 2020. Although if and when China does ever host another Olympiad, it’s going to be tough to top Beijing 2008.