The first day of Olympics we had tickets for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. As we had two extra tickets two friends came along with us. This competition is in the newly built National Indoor Stadium on the Olympic Green.
We took one of the many the fast bus lines that were added extra for the Olympics. They are routed to get people to and from the Olympic venues. But I think it might not be so easy to find information about them. We got out Olympic tickets as foreign residents in China and the „Official Spectator Guide“ provided to us is completely only in Chinese language. That guide has some rough information on where the buses stop. We were told there are only Chinese versions of that guide when we went to pick up our tickets 2 months ago. Maybe that is why these Olympic buses are so empty.
There are many restrictions written in tiny letters on the back side of the ticket. E.g. that you are only aloud to bring flags of countries participating in the events and that the flag is not allowed to me bigger than 1 times 2 meters. Also you are not allowed to wear clothes with a logo other than from the sponsors. And it says that you are not allowed to bring professional cameras. So Simon and I were discussing whether it would make sense to try to bring our SLR and then have it taken away and who knows if it then gets lost. So we decided that his Nikon and the Canon 1D might be considered as professional. So we both left our cameras at home. This is how a professional photographer looks like taking a picture with a point and shoot camera. And please note that I took this picture using my mobile phone. How sad…
When we were walking the convenient more than a kilometer walk from the bus stop to the National Indoor Stadium we hardly had time to take pictures as we were already late. It was very empty everywhere and the weather was quite good. We will be back tomorrow with more time for pictures. Here is a bad quality one done with my mobile phone.
The artistic gymnastics venue was designed by an architect from Nuernberg. We had tickets in the middle but still had a great view. Just too bad we did not have our SLR cameras. And guess what? We saw so many other visitors with their SLR cameras. So tomorrow I will risk to bring mine.
We were quite astonished to see so many empty seats in the stadium. I would guess at least 1 third was empty. There were a lot of volunteers helping us in the stadium. But they did not act as cheer leaders. The bug screen in the stadium did tell us „amazing“ or „great“ or „clap“ to make us understand the gymnastics competition. It was great to see the male athletes from so close. Most of them did a great job.
After the competition we were walking around the so called „Olympic Green“. It has a lot of concrete and grey color though. At least we felt really safe because the Military was also there.
Julien had a ticket for swimming in the Water Cube so he stayed on the Olympic grounds. The rest of us took the subway back into the city. It is great that with an Olympic ticket you can use any Beijing public transportation free of charge. But the subway was actually also not full. We had dinner in a nice Guizhou restaurant. After getting home I went to met one of the Hong Kong fixed gear riders who is currently in Beijing during the Olympic period. We rode together to Chaoyang park and then played around on our fixies bikes for a short while. What a great end of a great day.