My company followed the city guideline to give an extra day off: The day of the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics!
So I did not have to go to office today. That was especially convinient because my mother who actually received her visa arrived in Beijing in the morning. I took the new airport express train to the airport after some issues of finding the place to purchase the train ticket and getting through two security check points. We took a taxi back. That was so incredible: There was not a single person at the airport taxi stand. Nevertheless we somehow managed to get onto the only taxi with broken air conditioning. But that was also okay as there were almost no cars on the street and we almost flew home in that little red sauna car.
We then went to the neighbourhood police hut with the official certificate that I actually live in the appartment to get the approval to have my mother registered at the bigger neighbourhood police station. Our friendly police officer was out (said to be at the police station) so we went there directly. Unfortunately it was around lunch time but the police officer actually did register my mom despite it being his lunch resting time.
I met my photographer friend who actually now is lending me his Canon 1D till Canon comes out with a hopefully great full frame camera at a reasonable price. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I feel like a real person again.
It was hard to find information on places where there would be big screens to watch the opening ceremony other than some of the typical bars. My friend Fede went over to Ditan Park at about 2 pm with some friends and told us to come as Ditan Park had a space with 2 huge screens. We packed a bottle of wine, 2 bottles of beer a beer opener, two foldable chairs and a blanket. We were just leaving home to have some dinner on the way when Fede called and said we should come soon as it was getting crowded and he was not sure if they would close the entrance to the space with the screens. So we went there really hungry just to find out that except for the blanket and the camera we were not allowed to bring in the rest. But they said when we leave we can pick the things up again despite the fact that there was no marking on our bottles. We did manage to get the chairs in for my mother. I back out and got food from a small Chinese restaurant so that we do not collapse. Everybody was haning out on their blankets or newspaper waiting for the show to begin.
And wow what an Opening Ceremony! What a fabulous 3D play of lights, colors and traditional Chinese element. It was incredible. It was beautiful. It was amazing! London will have a hard time to produce anything nearly as impressive.
And it was a real experience to be in Ditan Park with mostly Chinese watching it on huge screens. The atmosphere was so great. Everybody was sitting on the ground so everybody had agreat view of both screens. There was no aggression or violence. There was a lot of positive energy. There was a lot of cheering. And that was for all athletes of all teh 204 nations who then marched into the Bird’s Nest Stadium. The crowd did not cheer so load for 2 presidents, but definitely cheered for the athletes. It was also perfect that there were no moskitos. But it was quite hot that night.
After the finish of the ceremony we were advised by the security crew that it might rain soon so we should all leave the park fast. We did that anyway as we were hungry. We went with friends to the nearby famous dim sum restaurant. We finished our delicious dinner at 2am. What a wonderful August 8th 2008!