How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing Part 9: Olympic Park

46 Comments


Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

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)

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 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.

The Birds Nest National Statdium

                                                         The Birds Nest National Stadium

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.

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

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

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
  • Use’ You Chat’ a lot
  • Two providers: China Mobile and China Unicom
  • Phone fee 200 Yuan per month or $40

Housing:

  • 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.

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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!

46 thoughts on “Beijing Part 9: Olympic Park

  1. Another interesting post and that food looks so yummy. Going to raid my refrig.

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  2. Housing is very expensive. Thanks, Tes. Another super tour.

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  3. Tess, the food made me hungry. Looks fascinating.

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    • Nice to see you, Susan. I had no complaints about the food. None of it is anywhere close to what westerners order in Chinese restaurants. Later on, we saw French fries and cauliflower which we found surprising. 😀

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  4. Ugh… amazing housing costs. I’m glad there was enough air to breathe. I remember that (on TV) about the Olympics there and the air pollution. Happy weekend hugs!

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    • I read bad smog conditions during the Olympics too and we saw a handful of people with masks, but they looked more like fashion statements. I didn’t even smell car exhaust.Happy weekend, Teagan. Thanks so much for the visit. 😦 ❤

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  5. Your photographer is beautiful. Sorry you didn’t like my post by Emily Sweet and that is okay, it’s not for everyone. Karen 🙂

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  6. I am curious Tess, did you ever figure what determined a good washroom vs a bad one???

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  7. I can’t imagine they had many takers for condos or houses at those prices. It might have been less boring there if you’d been able to run round the track or go for a swim or something. How strange that all stalls stocked the same goods Tess. I’m glad there were high points on the trip.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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    • Everyone works and some are lucky to hold down two jobs. I don’t know how they afford the real estate either. We only saw apartments, old and new, full and empty shells. We had little opportunity to see much outside of the city.
      Olympic Park has a lake, wonderful walkways, and well-maintained lawns and flower gardens but none of the buildings were open. Still, it’s an interesting taste of another country, right? Massive hugs back, David. Thank you for the visit. xxxxxxxxxxx

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  8. All those are my favorite Chinese food. I wonder if I would get sick of them if I ate them every day.

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    • We had three meals a day for over three weeks and I didn’t get tired of the food. Each area added something a little different to the menu. As we worked our way from Beijing to Macau, food became a little more spicy–but not too much.

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  9. Not sure I believe the ‘better houses’ bit…I’m very much a non-fan of the Olympics. Why can’t they go back to the way it was in ancient Greece and have only genuine amateurs, with day jobs?

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    • You’ve heard about propaganda, right? A lot of farmers were displaced and had nowhere to go. I don’t believe the better anything. The government owns ALL the land. Farmers lease their land and have to renew their leases. Sometimes, several generations live on the land for years and then oopsie. Bye-bye. We need our land back. 🙂

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  10. I like that building in the first picture. Is it a random shape or does it represent something?

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  11. Another great read, Tess. Interesting that all the hawkers sold the same products. It is different in Southern Africa as the hawkers at the tourist spots sell a lot of beautiful hand made art products made of wood, shells and beads, depending on the region. African people are wonderfully creative.

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    • Equal opportunity, I suppose. 😀 😀 How boring they all had the same trinkets. We visited an open market later in the trip, which had much more variety, though t-shirts and shawls were plentiful, lots of costume jewelry and most other things you can think of.

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  12. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    It is Saturday morning and I am standing in the middle of The Olympic Park in Beijing in the sunshine and wondering what we will be having for lunch… Well… I am not but Tess Karlinski was when she toured China… and I feel that I am right beside her.. If you have not been to China you will find this series a wonderful introduction to the country and its customs. Thanks Tess I will have some of the batter fried fish.

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  13. ‘While the sun smirked overhead’ That brought me right to the heat of the day Tess. Always fascinating to stroll with you. The stats you provided on the cost of living are very interesting. My guess is not too many people own their own home?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The sun did smirk because it planned to boil us alive due to the lack of trees and any shade.
      In Beijing we saw a few old, falling down houses upon our arrival from the airport. Most were being torn down. Especially while located in Beijing, we saw hotels, plazas, banks, department stores (all skyscrapers (and apartment buildings, both vacant and semi- of fully occupied. One of our tour guides–a female later on–afforded a two-bedroom condo for herself and moved in her parents. She described how the shell of the living area was refurbished with different workmen. Interesting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Two things: A smogless day in China? Is that an oxymoron? Lol And I’m sure the rents have gone up even more since this posting. 🙂 ❤

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    • It seems to me, Beijing is the hotspot for smog.
      By the time we met our Shanghai tour guide, he told us real estate was through the ceiling and there would have to be a correction or a crash. Even here, real estate is going nuts.
      During the Olympics, the news showed smog thick as smoke but we saw none during my days in Beijing. It occurred to me in Shanghai I couldn’t even smell car exhaust. Of course, the cars are relatively new, purchased with money earned working on the construction for the Olympic Park. Transport trucks aren’t allowed inside the city–not sure if this is only in Shanghai.

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      • Those are interesting facts Tess. And you don’t have to tell me what’s going on in our hometown with real estate, lol. I don’t suppose there’s been a crash yet in China’s market either? 🙂

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  15. I love the way you always list the meals. You are a woman after my own heart! Great post as ever!

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  16. How strange tthat all of the stalls sold the exact same goods, what a let-down! As always, the food looks great, Tess! 🙂

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  17. The birds nest looks fascinating, no chance to go inside?

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  18. This was interesting! I love anything Olympics! It would have been very cool to see this regardless of all the tents/vendors. Your photos gave a good idea of the immensity of the place. When I watched the 2008 Olympics, the opening day was 08/08/08, considered lucky in China.

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  19. No shade, you say? I would not survive in Olympic Park. Not for an afternoon, not for an hour. I’d be burned to a crisp. Although 3/4 Sicilian, I inherited the 1/4 Polish genes. Sigh… Needless to say, I have a lot of hats and long-sleeved shirts; even several umbrellas 🙂 ♥

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  20. Really enjoying taking this trip 😉 The buildings are amazing and the food looks so good. The house prices are way high though!

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  21. LOving these posts- bringing back memories. Also loved the Chicken with cabbage and carrots and the Cucumbers with chicken. And the little cakes we always had

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  22. It sounds like a very dry there. Not cheap to live there either… I’m intrigued about the toilets too… Thanks, Tess!

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