How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing, Day 5, Part 2: Olympic Park

119 Comments


The Olympic Park

The Olympic grounds had been built on razed farmland. We were told all the displaced farmers had been given jobs and a better apartment than the farmhouses they’d lived in. Everyone’s happy; a win-win.

To get to the entrance of the Park, a busy highway had to be negotiated by foot. The bus had been parked on the other side. Although busy, the hazards of crossing (four-lanes? can’t be sure now) presented less chance of being run over than in the midst of the city if you timed your jaunt.

At long last, we were free to wander the grounds. I found our time there boring, however. The sun smirked overhead. Paved walkways, expansive stone-tiled and bricked thoroughfare stretched miles ahead, too bright and stripped of real shade. Thank goodness for hats and sunglasses. It felt a clear day and I noticed no smog todate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtjogMtnrjw  (published Feb. 2014, 2.53 min)

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12e3c6mAzfQ  (published May 2014, 9.45 min)

Notice the tents with trinkets for visitors. In the background is the 25-story IBM building (in the shape of Olympic torch)

Notice the tents with trinkets for visitors. In the background is the 25-story IBM building (in the shape of Olympic torch)

 I recall hawkers in the open and sellers of tourist knick-knacks in stall after stall after stall, along one side of the center road. These were actually white tents four or five feet wide with a flap raised on some as a sunshade. At intervals, empty stretches separated one cluster from another. The disappointment lay in discovering they all carried the same products! Every one.

One of the last ones, a larger tent, provided a digital opportunity for a mock emperor and concubine, or possibly his queen. Ernesto and Lorena, known for their carefree style, donned the costumes provided and had their royal photo taken.

Another frustration surfaced: no open exhibits.

As we left the Park, we ladies inquired about washrooms. Somebody spied one and pointed. “No, you won’t like that one,” Robert said. “See there? That’s a good one.” We’d heard a similar declaration several times now. I wondered in what way it might be different and not to our liking.

The Birds Nest National Statdium

The Birds Nest National Stadium

NO matter what was served for any of our meals, I would never starve. It struck me, though, lunch and dinner dishes were quite similar, with lot of repeats. Time will tell.

Lunch was served at a restaurant not far from Olympic Village. From where we sat, I saw back-to-back orange hoods / like half pods or huge footballers’ helmets and wondered what they were. Phone booths. Say what? Two by two they appeared on the sidewalk, back to back, closer than girlfriends. Migrants and low income workers use these phone ‘booths.’ For pictures, click below.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=public+phone+booths%2C+beijing&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&oq=public+phone+booths%2C+beijing&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.12144j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

Notice the water glasses, which vary in size from restaurant to restaurant

Notice the water glasses, which vary in size from restaurant to restaurant. Delicious.

LUNCH:

  • White rice
  • Tea (always hot and ready)
  • Pork meatballs
  • Chicken with cabbage and carrots
  • Kung Pow chicken
  • Rice (with duck meat)
  • Deep fried pork
  • Cucumbers with chicken\
  • Deep fried battered fish
  • Egg drop soup
  • Sliced watermelon for dessert

~ * ~

Some Quick Facts about Telephones:

  • Everyone has a cell phone, sometimes two
  • Use text message vs. phone because it’s cheaper
  • Two providers: China Mobile and China Unicom
  • Phone fee 200 Yuan per month or $40.
  • Use’ You Chat’ a lot

Housing:

  • Apartment rent 2 bedrooms $1,000 per month
  • Condo rent good location $1,600 per month (depending on that location)
  • Condos, 2-bedroom, 1,000 square metres, 1 toilet
  • Condos cost $6,000 per square metre
  • 1,000 metres = $600,000 per condo
  • A house and garage, minimum price 30,000,000 Yuan or FIVE million U.S. dollars

For all related posts click on China tab at the top of the page.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

119 thoughts on “Beijing, Day 5, Part 2: Olympic Park

  1. I wonder how many of those displaced farmers were as happy as the propaganda led us to believe they were. I suspect not all were too happy about their forced relocation. Others, I’m sure, were thrilled.

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    • I don’t believe the propaganda. I read an article way back when this occurred and I believe THAT article. Homeless people is what lots became.
      I recall another article about couples divorcing when they were given so called housing. A couple were allowed one room but as a divorced couple, they were two separate people and got one room each. It took the government a while to catch on. On the other hand, once some couples divorced, some didn’t want to stay together anymore. :-D All this around the rime of Olympic preparation.

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  2. Did you see any of the so-called ‘ghost cities’ during your visit? 60 Minutes (the CBS news show) did a segment not long ago on the more than 60 million empty apartments and condos (not to mention hundred of thousands of square feet of retail space in huge malls) that have been built but remain unoccupied throughout China. Apparently a lot of them have been purchased as ‘investments’, but no one actually lives there (so I’m not sure how that’s considered a good investment!) Very strange!

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    • No, we didn’t SEE them but I’ve since learned about them. I don’t understand the over-construction and the fancy-smancy malls. I recently read some investors are planning to EXPAND retail space and the malls are empty. No business. What ARE they thinking?
      We saw lots of empty apartment building, as if they’d been forgotten, cast aside or abandoned. Our guides all told us the expectation was the people from outside the cities were scrambling to move out of the country.
      I met a couple at a dinner party recently, who had been to China 17 years ago. Over construction evident back then as well.
      Makes no sense. Sounds like, ‘If you build it, they will come.’
      Isn’t working, is it? Maybe because there are so many poor and real estate is climbing too fast and too high. The money hasn’t trickled down far enough.

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  3. Interesting that you noticed no smog to date. I certainly expected differently. The lunch looks good. The rest very devoid of nature and yes, thank goodness for hats and sunglasses. Am interested in what comes next.

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  4. Looks like the lies that are told to placate the tourists never end……. Then again people are the same everywhere….. ans so are the politicians…………… :P

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  5. So are you going to tell us about the bathrooms-that-shouldn’t-be-entered? You’ve made me curious.

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    • We didn’t go inside the ones we were discouraged from. What I’ve read since, I wonder if they aren’t open areas without doors or walls with a long community channel in the floor. Privacy isn’t something they understand. :-(

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  6. Glad you didn’t get run over on the highway! yikes!

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  7. I need to come back and read this later…..but I just had to tell you what happened to me. remember how you got advice from someone before your trip to China (and I chimed in as well….) about packing an extra set of clothes? well…..I flew into Chicago tonight to celebrate my aunt’s 95th birthday (going home Sunday) but my bag didn’t make it :( I’m about to hit the hay but had to come and comment here since I remember we were talking about that. you never think it’s going to happen to you…….I got here 4 hours ago and they still haven’t located it. most of my favorite clothes were in that bag :( however, there are worse things and if it doesn’t show up by the time breakfast is over, we’re going shopping!!! whee!!! okay, time to snooze. back later to read this post…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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    • packing an extra set of clothes in your carry on that is…..

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    • Oh nooooooo! I remember your advice and I packed two sets of change in my carry-on.
      In a way I want to giggle but it wasn’t funny, was it? So, I guess you ended up shopping?

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      • Going shortly :)

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      • Don’t spend all your money… Yet.

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      • talked to the nicest (so far) guy at Sun Country who remains hopeful that they will locate it. and I have “permission” to buy a reasonably priced outfit for today. and another one tomorrow if bag doesn’t show up today….and on it goes. there are worse things in life and I have a huge support system around me so things are looking up :) Yes, let THIS be a lesson to me huh? ah…..the best laid plans of mice and men….

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      • Maybe this experience will turn up roses. :-D
        I can’t believe we can share stories like this because of something back three months ago. Gosh. I DO love my blogging community. Thanks for sharing, Toby. :-)

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      • my bag was found! it went to Detroit even though it was clearly labeled for Chicago…..we went to pick it up this morning. dare I check it on the way home? I really don’t like the idea of taking it on the plane with me….not to mention hoisting it up into the overhead. but at least I’d be going home and IF it happened again I will have other clothes to wear. having a great time in spite of the darn lost bag :) Agreed – I love the blogging community too!! nighty nite….bigger family reunion tomorrow. fun, fun, fun!!

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      • When we left Toronto for stop-off in Chicago before taking off for Beijing, our luggage changed planes ahead of us. I was worried it wouldn’t arrive when we did but thanks to my blogging buddy, I had changes of clothes with me.
        Have fun. Glad you found your bag. Good times. Enjoy! :-D :-D <3

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  8. A other great travelog. Sounds as though you were out in the sun too long though. The food sounds wonderful.

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  9. I watched a documentary about farmers having their land taken and being given jobs and homed instead. The jobs were slave labour often hundreds of miles from home and the homes were squalid unfinished hovels!

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  10. Unlike most Olympic parks of the past, I wonder if this one would be put to good use?

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    • If you take a peek at the videos, this one is used but I don’t know if any of the buildings are ever open. They were closed when we were there. They promote it as a place to exercise and of course it’s a place for hawkers…
      I came across something that mentioned the place was falling into ruin. Guess concensus to make use of it was reached. It’s free entrance.

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  11. At these prices the closest I’ll get to China is the take out joint 10 blocks away. Shrimp/broccoli, white rice my fav.

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  12. The food pic reminds me of the food in Hong Kong, I must say that I longed for South African food after a while.

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  13. I nominated you for The Most Influential Blogger Award. Congratulations! I don’t follow the rules, but you may wish to check out the person who nominated me, who has the rules and ways to accept the award. I just like to spread the awards around and get others to check out posts I enjoy! I have enjoyed reading your posts lately! Smiles, Robin

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  14. Look at that gorgeous blue sky.

    I think I could live with that rotating menu.

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  15. I so enjoy following along your travels and your thoughts. This one was interesting, those who were displaced lost much with the Olympics.

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  16. HOLY MOLY on the cost of living! I think the food looks very good. But I have to say, the Olympic spot does not look too exciting. Though I would have loved to people watch.

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  17. Food looked quite appetizing. Surprised the aquatics center had nothing going on. Is the park just open to visitors or is it used as a training camp for various sports?

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  18. I’ve been in the channel no door toilets…awkward. The pricing of condos and houses made my mouth drop. The food pic, made it water, my kind of food. Smiles x

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  19. Wow! So expensive to buy a house. Gosh. I am not surprised although I know next to nothing about the Chinese economy. But wow the food looks so yummy! Do you miss it? I would! :)

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  20. their apt rental costs are in-line with ours. Interesting.
    I had to laugh about the toilet diversion–hope you took them up on it.

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  21. I wonder how the Chinese government defined ‘better house’ and ‘job’.

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    • I shake my head. Slave labor wages if at all and supposedly apartments to live in. I read in the paper when they razed the farms people were left on their own. The land belongs to the government. You lease it from them, and even though in some places generations have lived in the same house, the lease is either renewed or not every 70 years. If other plans come up for government, you’re out on your ear.

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  22. I love you life Tess! You inspire so many around the world in awesome ways! Please continue to keep us up to date on your awesome Asian Adventure!

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  23. There always seems to be plenty of food but you have me curious about the washroom? :)

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  24. I can never really see the point of visiting sporting stadia. In Moscow the tour bus took us to the site of the 1980 Olympic Games. So What? In Barcelona the city tour bus goes to the Nou Camp Football Stadium. So What? In Dublin the city tour bus goes to Croke Park (Gaelic Football). So What? I just don’t get it, I’d rather see the historical sites. The food looks good! Based on your experience would you recommend visiting China?

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    • I don’t know about going to an empty Olympic part with nothing to see or do either. This was my first time and none of us knew what to expect. Zilch.
      Sounds to me you do all your traveling with friends not a tour. We were insulated in the tour. In the north, there was little English but became more evident as we traveled farther south. Our tour was very good dollar value. We covered a lot of miles in 24 days. Even with the expensive insurance at my age, the trip cost under 5G all inclusive. Some of the ladies wanted more shopping. I don’t care for shopping. As far as learning about the captivating history of China, you get it all.

      Doing this without a tour feels it would be complicated because of the language and more expensive.

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  25. Oh Tess, I’m so late for the tour, but I was there with you, honestly, got a bit lost in the crowds but I’m here now, phew! I love how you described the ‘sun smirked overhead’. I can understand you saying you were bored at the Olympic Stadium. It would seem like a bereft sort of a place I would imagine. I can’t believe how much it is for a house with a garage over there, yowzer!!! As always, the food looks wonderful, but I’m a sucker for Chinese :D <3

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    • Yes, we had an extreme tour. Nothing open and nothing to see except walk for miles to nothing. I didn’t even know about the gardens and boating until I came home and Googled the Olympic Park. Sigh.

      You’ve been busy. Never worry coming by late. I’ll always keep the porch light on. <3 <3

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      • Oh that’s a shame…but at least you can say you’ve been there I suppose…

        Ahh, love that, no wonder I was able to see my way around even though I came by so late…that porch light is ever so welcoming and warm…just like you my friend <3 <3 <3

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      • It warms the cockles of my heart to see you keeping up with my little adventure. You have a good one yourself. <3 <3 <3

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh I nearly missed this instalment! Those property prices are much more expensive than I would have imagined! How strange that all the stalls should sell the same things. I like the look of the food more than the olympic park :)

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    • I don’t get it. How can the small ‘shopkeeper’ make any headway. If you don’t like the negotiation at one stall, you go to the next. How low can they go? How do they make a living? I know everyone is equal. Is that why they have equal / the same products? Mind-bending subject.

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  27. Tess – Not only are you entertaining but educating those of us that haven’t been to China all at the same time. I’m so glad you went as I’ve never had a desire to travel in the east. I have no idea why as I’ve been game for everything else in the world including the Amazon River and even my brothers wouldn’t consider that trip.
    All the years I traveled with my work, I was fortunate to stay in each place anywhere from 3 weeks to a year. I never knew how long I’d be in any one place. I normally liked the longer stays as I had an opportunity to learn more about the culture and travel about the country to get a real feel for the country. On the other hand, I’m truly impressed with all you’ve been able to experience with a planned tour. It tickles me all the way up to my ears that you were not only able to have this trip but are willing to share it with all of us. Thank you.

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    • I never had designs on China. The whole trip was a complete fluke but I am now glad it happened, gift or fluke. I’m grateful I’m a blogger and can share my observations not only because I’m happy to share, but it gives me the reason to decipher my notes and type them for future memories. My daughter has no idea about my trip yet..A crisp, typed copy for her perusal will be perfect for her. And then I have my growing and curious granddaughters with whom I’d like to share this educational experience.

      I enjoy a number of travel blogs and the people who share their adventures have shown me how helpful it is to share. As well, the tour guides have been generous in sharing information that I scribbled as best I could and hoped I’d make out when the time came to transcribe.

      You are a joy to converse with, Sheri. You are forever more curious and energetic than you anyone might expect. I become tired simply thinking of how much you accomplish in a day. <3 <3 <3

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      • Now it’s my turn to blush. I love the idea of your sharing your adventure with your granddaughters. This will shape them in more ways than either one of us can imagine. I follow a wonderful blog http://dealingwithcopd.wordpress.com and Bill frequently talks about his relationship with his only granddaughter and he also writes letters to her that he’ll leave behind. He’s stage 4 COPD and the man writes brilliantly. [Like Yourself]!
        I have no idea how the universe brought us together, I’m grateful that it did. Much love, Sheri

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  28. Hello, finally had a chance to read this and look at the photos. This is so interesting. I like the IBM Building. My friend went to China with her sister and brother-in-law when her sister was adopting a baby. During the sight-seeing phase of the trip, they tried not to drink a lot of liquids during the day so they wouldn’t have to use the public bathrooms which were totally lacking in privacy.

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  29. Shape of a torch. I was thinking parrot, lol!

    And the phone booths look much like those in Brazil.

    For the toilets, it might have been those mentioned here.

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    • :-D :-D :-D
      I know, I wondered as well, torch?
      Brazil? Well, I don’t need to visit there now, do I? Now I know what their phone booths look like. :-D :-D
      I keep learning new things after this trip and this blog about it.
      Thanks so much for your interest. <3

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  30. I love all the fun facts, Tess, that give you an idea of what it might be like to live as well as travel there!

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