Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Olympics wrap-up

Ok, enough blabbing about the Olympics. I promise to be done after this. But I've got to write this all down before it fades since it was the trip of a lifetime for us.I loved the Olympic venues. I loved the dancing water show in front of the Water Cube.I loved how everything looked all lit up at night too.This building was mostly blue at night, but you never knew...Sometimes it changed to purple.
Or multicolored. Those Chinese people love the neons.
This is the reflection of both in one of the sculptures.
Besides basketball and track & field, we got to see handball (a pretty fun game to watch),
water polo (looked so incredibly tiring!),
field hockey,
...and we got to watch the first racers come in on the marathon the last day. We got there just in time to watch the winner race through the Olympic green (although not in time enough to get the camera out. This is a different guy.) It was amazing to see how fast they were still going after running 26 miles. Dave was especially interested in this part since he's the marathon guy.
As I mentioned before, the security was SO tight. We had to go through metal detectors and send our stuff through scanners every time we went anywhere near the venues. We had to finish our water before we went in (no water bottles allowed), and they scanned everyone front and back with personal scanners (see the guy behind Dave).

All in all we walked miles and miles because the security only allowed for a couple entrances to each different venue and we kept getting dropped off at the wrong spot. By the last day we kind of had all the entrances and transportation down, but until then we sure got our exercise...in the humid heat. Isn't it supposed to be good for you to sweat a lot? I mean, isn't that what saunas are all about? If so, man, we are healthy suckers now!
These cartoon guys were everywhere...in different versions at half times and time outs, stuffed animals for sale at all the stores, etc.
This is a blurry picture but I had to stick it in because it signifies how many pictures of Dave and me random Chinese people will have tucked safely in their photo albums for years to come. Man oh man they love to have pictures of Americans.
We got to hang out a little with our friends the Swapps who are living over there. Love these guys. They seem to be doing great.
This was our view of the grand closing ceremony. One of our big goals was to figure out a way to get in. We asked every English speaker that we came across for advice on how to get tickets. No one had any ideas for us. They said it'd be pretty much impossible. Then finally as we were leaving the hotel to go try to scalp tickets I asked one last guy if he had any ideas. To our complete dismay he said if he had only known we wanted tickets a half hour before he would have given us two of them. He had just barely given them away twenty minutes before. How's that for serious heart sinking?

But we went ahead and gave the scalping a try. They seriously shut down the area for miles around to anyone without a ticket. We somehow maneuvered our way through the guards to the gate to try to scalp tickets but to no avail. Only a handful of people wanting to sell tickets made it through all the security and they wanted two to three thousand dollars per ticket.

So the above and two below pictures were our view. We sat outside and watched the inside festivities on the huge jumbo tron and got to at least see the fireworks first hand. And truthfully we wiped our brow that we didn't pay big bucks to get in there...although it was really good, it really couldn't compare to the Opening ceremony, and we quite enjoyed our little spot where someone who was friendly with the police pulled right up in their car and turned on the sound system full blast right there. Here we were from our outside "deluxe box seats." Man, check out that hot date I had...

We had a few shoulder nudges with famous people. Most of the time we didn't pull out the camera, but here are the times we did:
This is the latest Bond girl in the new movie coming out. You can't even see her face, but that's because the crowds swarming around her were packed in and there were a bunch of bodyguards everywhere.
This is Reggie Witherspoon. He was supposed to run in the 4 x 400 we got to watch on our track & field night with the team who ended up winning the gold. We were so excited to watch him after having met him and his super sweet mom. But his mom said there had been some politics involved in who was chosen and I guess politics took over because he didn't actually run in the race. I guess they give precedence to those who have run in the Olympics before. Dave and I were so sad when he didn't turn up that night for the big race mostly because we were sure it was heartbreaking for him as well as for his poor mom who sacrificed so much to get over to China to watch him. I'm sure there are so many heartwrenching stories like this that we never really hear.
As we were walking through the airport to catch our plane on the way home we happened to end up walking along with Lisa Leslie and her cute little daughter,
...along with another team mate...I don't know her name. Another goal we had over there was to touch a gold medal. There we got it.

Then we walked further on and kept seeing more and more security...realizing that there were probably more players ahead. Sure enough, next we ran into pretty much the whole men's basketball team. Dave (who usually shies away from celebrity ga ga stuff) was in Heaven walking around giving them knuckles and telling them congrats. This is one of my very favorite pictures from the trip. It's Dave with Dwight Howard. It's like that Monsters Inc. picture where the little green guy (can't remember his name...Mike?) is all covered up but he's still so darn excited about the picture. Dave just happened to walk over behind this hanging thing while I was taking the picture (we were trying to be discreet...) I love it.
The waiting room was filled with people like Duane Wade (above playing his gameboy), Dwight Howard, LeBran James, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Bruce Bowen, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. There were also the coaches Dave was excited about...Coach K, Jerry Colangelo, Coach D'Antoni, etc. I think Williams was a little tuckered out.

Then we flew home to the best five kids in the world. Oh man I love these guys.

So, to sum-up, it was the best trip ever. And Dave was the best companion I could ever ask for. I mean, really, what could be a better than an eight-day date going around to all kinds of athletic games all day long for Dave, and being in a foreign country having an adventure for me. It was a serious dream for both of us. And believe it or not, Dave was even a great sport about all the pictures. Check out the one of him "holding" the torch for crying out loud.

Thanks for making it all work, babe. Love you.
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