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 four-lane highway had to be negotiated by foot. The bus had been parked on the other side. Although busy, the hazards of crossing 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 any shade. Thank goodness for hats and sunglasses. It felt a clear day and I noticed no smog to date.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtjogMtnrjw (published Feb. 2014, 2.53 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12e3c6mAzfQ (published May 2014, 9.45 min)
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 photo 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. One size fit all as the ‘costumes’ tied in the back like hospital gowns.
Another frustration: no open exhibits.
As we left the Park, the 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.
No matter what was served at any of our meals, I would never starve. It struck me, though, lunch and dinner dishes were quite similar, with lots 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 Public Phone Booths.
- 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
- Use’ You Chat’ a lot
- Two providers: China Mobile and China Unicom
- Phone fee 200 Yuan per month or $40
- Apartment rent 2 bedrooms: $1,000 per month (all USD)
- Condo rent good location: $1,600 per month (depending on that location)
- Condos, 2-bedroom, 1,000 square meters, 1 toilet
- Condos cost $6,000 per square meter
- 1,000 metres = $600,000 per condo
- A house and garage, minimum price 30,000,000 Yuan or FIVE million U.S. dollars
Up Next on March 17: Beijing Part 10: The Hutong
© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles
FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.