Haze is the sky of today in Beijing! Still hot, but no clear blue sky for the day of opening ceremonies. The Village is in lock down today, with no guests allowed. Most of the athletes are staying in, with only a few training venues open until noon. The transportation shut down at noon, and Team Canada is waiting to meet for what is called “staging” at 5:30. Each country is given a time to meet outside their residence, where we will be met by volunteers to take us to our bus/buses. From there we will be taken to the Bird’s Nest to wait outside the stadium until we march in. We will be the 43rd country out of 143. Normally they go alphabetically, but there is no alphabet in Chinese. I am not sure how they decided the order here. In Athens we were later as Canada is spelled with a K there. After all the countries march in, we are allowed to leave if we want. If we stay, they will seat us and we will watch the show. Most of Team Canada will stay, except women’s goalball as they start competing tomorrow. Many swimmers are not going at all as they also start early tomorrow.
With everyone in the Village, things are more crowded – like the pool this morning when I went for my swim. The cafeteria will be busy, too as everyone tries to get dinner at 5!!
Did I mention the smells and sounds of the Village? There are a number of smells that are not altogether pleasant around the Village. I think that some sewage issues remain to be dealt with….There are a few areas that we walk quickly past….Now the sounds are very pleasant! There are crickets, frogs and ciccadas (spelling?) that make you think of camping in the country or forest. They also have piped in music playing softly through the day. They have those speakers in the fake rocks throughout the Village, so it is very nice. In the cafeteria, they have louder music. It is on continuous loop, so you hear the same thing over from time to time.
Another funny thing was listening to Celine Dion in the Japanese restaurant last night…somewhat incongruous! The meal was really quite good, and too much food and enough sake came to about $20 with tip. And I also heard this morning at our athletics meeting that their staff meeting will be at that same Japanese restuarant, tomorrow night!
And so another day rolls along in Beijing. Things will be changing dramatically tomorrow as the Games begin! I am looking forward to that as we have been here a week and have settled into our routines. Time for a change towards why we are really here! Watch for CBC coverage of the Opening Ceremonies Saturday evening, and stay tuned for more!
Let the Games Begin! Paige