First few chaotic days are in full swing at the games. Had a relatively uneventful flight across the pond, not only direct from Vancouver but wangled a spot in the pointy part of the plane (with an upgrade certificate…and after physically restraining a character on my first flight from Kamloops…but that’s another story!). Slept so soundly in my little pod that was not aware that the planes entertainment system was down the whole flight! Beijing has been a delight of Green spaces and much bluer skies than expected. We have also been very pleasantly surprised with facilities here in Beijing after months of scepticism about how much attention and effort would be put in to the Para games after the worlds attention to the Olympics had turned off. This concern began to dissipate as we got off the plane, through security/customs, accredited and bags in hand after ~15min –impressive! Smiling, broken English speaking, helpful volunteers are everywhere. Manpower is not an issue, and they mostly tasked with one simple job which they will do if it kills them. One poor volunteer was tasked with keeping the group of Canadians from our flight together, and lead us to the bus –simple right? Unfortunately we had the sailors with us, who were not supposed to go the bus but to another flight to their venue in Xingdao a city to the North. This was not conveyed to the volunteer in question, and her English lexicon did not extend past “Hello, How are You? And Follow me Please”….not particularly helpful under the circumstances. The sailors who had an even less ability to communicate in the volunteers language than she in ours, but a knowledge of the situation, the airport, and where they needed to be….kept sneaking off in the “right direction”. To the volunteer’s credit, it took several such attempts before they managed to successfully detach themselves and head on their way….and our volunteer was never the same after that.
We were then in a bus, in the games lane, relabelled with the IPC logo, on empty streets watching literally thousands of Olympic Banners be switched to Paralympic ones –impressive efforts! (and the number of banners left means Hammer likely did not get to these streets….most will know who and why I am referring to this individual). The village itself is incredible! Huge, manicured and beautiful. Getting used to village life again, chaos, interesting sites and like with any large groups of people different behaviours. I was in a long line for coffee this morning when someone from a European country, that shall remain nameless but starts with a G, walked straight past the line and filled his cup. When we pointed out his behaviour, he remarked “I am only getting coffee”. …I guess he thought we were lined up to do something rude to the machine or something.
Pictures are taken on the walk from the residences to the cafeteria~5 minute walk but getting more crowded by the minute