More from Paige Larson
The sun is shining once again over Beijing. Apparently the winds are from the north so it blows the polution away (most of the factories are in the south). Whatever the reason, it makes it quite amazing for us here now! Things are getting busier, as expected. My workload thus far has been very light - something I could get used to quite easily! The track athletes are doing very light training and they are all quite healthy. Only 2 who I am seeing regularly at this point...and I hope that it continues, but it won't and I will be doing 7 am to 11 pm all too soon!
I did start the day rather early though with a 6:30 am athletics coaches/staff meeting. It was not particularly useful for me and the massage therapist to be there, but they requested our presence, so there we were. After that I managed a short jog, a short treatment, and breakfast. Next on the agenda today will be some treatments and then we are planning a trip to see Tiannmen Square and the Forbidden City. We will then be back in the Clinic for about 3 hours this evening before the medical team meeting at 10 pm. And we shall see how closely the day goes according to the plan!!
Continuing with my description of the Village....I did forget to mention that there is a massage center in the fitness area of the Village. The fitness center is part of the residential zone. There is one other zone, which is called the International Zone. This is where some people can go that cannot get into the residential zone, but not just anyone - I am not sure who else can go there, but we have to go through security (with metal detectors and scanning of bags just like at the airport) between the 2 zones. We also go through such security every time we go in and out of the Village or a venue. The only exception is if we get on a Games bus and it delivers us inside the venue (like the bus to the Bird's Nest does).
The International zone does not compare in landscaping, beauty or serenity to the residential zone. It has quite a number of large portable buildings set up in neat rows, all on blacktop. Not very nice, and very hot! There is also a traditional Chinese set of buildings that houses the Mayor's office. I assume that is the Mayor of the Village, not Beijing...There was a meeting there when I went by so I did not get to look around, but do hope to. There is also an area with a small theatre type pavillion with a circle of all the flags from every country that is here. That is where they do a flag raising ceremony for each country and we are officially welcomed to the Village. I think our ceremony is on the 4th.
The main part of the International zone is the retail area. There is phone center, post office, hair salon (we can each get a free hair cut!), photo store, travel agent, bank, ATM, Games ticket office, general store (not sure what we would need to buy as they seem to supply just about everything!), official merchanice store, newsstand, pin trading center (sponsored by Coke), dry cleaners, a florist, informations services, lost and found, environmental information area, and tourist info. There is a nice part that has a selection of traditional Chinese arts with people there painting, carving, and things like that. It really is a mini city to meet any need!! They have all the Olympic stuff on sale now, so people are grabbing that up as well as the new Paralympic swag.
And so I must go back to work, such as it is....sunscreen for all....and watch out for those volunteers marching by....they are actually soldiers. At most Games they are senior high and college students, but here they have got the army involved. So the "volunteers" are seen marching around in formation - I passed 36 of them marching in unison in 12 rows of 3 with 3 "superiors" to the side of the column. It does look odd though as they are wearing the typical volunteer uniform, not army uniforms. For army uniforms you just need to look at the gates, or around the edge of the Village. There is a high brick wall with breaks of decorative bars. Then there are 2 rows of chain link with barbed and razor wire on top. Every few hundred yards is a centry hut and a soldier standing at attention in full dress gear. They don't move and it is rather odd. Running by them in the morning makes you kind of feel like you are in a prison. Hopefully they will keep the bad people out and we will all be safe!
Looking forward to another great day in Beijing! Paige