Latest from Paige Larson in Beijing
Another beautiful day in Beijing starting with a quick athletics meeting followed by a nice jog. I went to the recreation area 1 km jogging track, which is in a lovely wooded area. The woods are not thick, but sparsely planted. It still makes it much cooler than in the sun! After breakfast, I went to the Summer Palace with a couple of people from the medical team - Helen, the nurse/office manager, and Linda, one of the doctors.
The Summer Palace is not actually one palace, but a collection of buildings, shrines, and such where the royalty used to spend the hot summers to escape the heat of Beijing. This is odd as downtown Beijing is only about a 30 minutes drive away, and even in the shade it was still smoking hot! The place is amazing though, with a site that must be as big as Stanley Park all wooded with many Chinese style buildings and covered areas scattered throughout. There is a hugh lake, with a 17 ached bridge elading to a small island in the middle. You could rent peddle or electric boats to go out on the lake, but we had time restrictions. There were also some amazing buildings that we also did not enter as we just did not have the time. We do get in to these sites with our Paralympic accreditiation, which is nice, although they only cost about 5 to 10 dollars to enter each site. Parts of the Summer Palace has been restored, while others have not been. It is really a beautiful place and you can see why the royalty would love to live there.
And back to the Village....there are several other services in the Village that take up large buildings here and there. The polyclinic, sports information center, wheelchair storage, wheelchair repair, and meeting rooms take up lots of space. Smaller places include the International Paralympic Committee info area, anti-doping center, doping center, video viewing (they video all of the events and you can go and watch them and get copies of the video), a multi-faith center, UN Convention area (for athletes from countries needing this information), orthotic and prosthetic repair, and a classification center (many Paralympic athletes have classifications based on abilites to even the playing field. All of these are just more things that all the athletes and support staff need to make the Games run.
The flag raising last night went well as we shared our ceremony with New Zealand and Uzbekistan. There was also the Team Canada pep rally where they announced that Donovan Tildesley will be our flag bearer. He is a blind swimmer, who has won many medals in previous games. There was a short martial arts demonstration before, and s few short speeches, but it was only about 30 minutes long.
So, the medical team is having our dinner tonight, going to a Japanese place - go figure!! And so I will close for another day, and say good night! Cheers from Beijing, Paige