Ladies and Gentlemen, that concludes our programming. The show is officially over. Please make your way to the designated exits, and enjoy your journey home. We thank you for visiting. Make sure and let everyone know what a wonderful place China is with so many people eager to help at all transit points! Oh, but please hand carry everything that you’ve purchased here, because forget about trying to ship anything. Not so easy for me, as I was dead set on shipping my computer (along with some random clothing that I wasn’t planning on carrying around with me for the next 6 weeks, and a pair of running shoes doesn’t seem noteworthy, but stay tuned). I had figured that shipping a computer (anywhere) wouldn’t be easy, so I went in expecting to have some hassle. But there were many more surprises to come…
So I know that most of you (if you’re anything like the other 4 billion people in the world) are probably interested to hear about what it was like to be in Beijing during that most spectacular opening ceremonies event of all times and it was spectacular, let me assure you. You’re thinking: wow Grace must have been so blown away just to be anywhere near it; the buzz in the city; the fireworks and yeah, it was cool to see it in real time, but I wasn’t in the stadium, nor was I even anywhere near it really. The only difference between being there and watching it on TV (that I heard of) was that if you watched it at home, you didn’t lose 10 pounds or risk dying from heat exhaustion, and you were able to eat and drink like a normal person instead of waiting in line to buy a concession from one of 3 people selling them throughout the stadium.
Greetings from my new home for the month: the sprawling metropolis of Beijing…at least I think it’s sprawling: I can’t really see it sprawling through the thick “haze” that no one here seems to be concerned with or find problematic (elephant in the room or elephant sitting on top of us?). The smog is worse than smog. It’s as if we are walking around in a foggy cloud, only this cloud tastes really bad and I can feel a ball of nastiness curling up in the back of my throat every time I walk outside. The air seems to be a bit less dense and stinky once inside the hotel maybe there is some sort of air filtration system? Not so over on the campus of Beijing Normal University, the home of the High Performance Training Center; the sacred ground upon which the US athletes complete their final days of training before competing…and also home to the group of people that we are hosting here. The air seems to be heavier over there and more invasive. Imagine working out while breathing pure exhaust fumes…ick.