Paige Larson: September 16 in Beijing
So, it was an eventful night last night for Deanna (athletic therapist) and I. When we got to the Park Plaza Hotel they informed us that we needed our passport to check in. No one had mentioned that fact so I had to get a car back to the Village to pick up my passport - about 1.5 hour round trip. Then we were off to a great dinner of real Chinese food. We went to a Szechaun (sp?) place and ordered four dishes. We had asparagus and mushrooms, sweet and sour beef (not quite the same as ours), mango and shrimp salad, and ham and pineapple rice with crab. They actually brought out the live crab in a wooden basket for approval before sacrificing the poor thing for us to eat! The food was all excellent. The drink was a different matter. The bottom line is don't order wine in China. We had heard it before, but they had a wine list!! It was of no use though as even the English translation didn't mean anything. We asked some other caucasians there and they didn't have any idea either. They said the numbers were specific gravity which is like our percent alcohol. They also listed the age, and they said older ones were sweeter. So, we guessed and ended up with 35% something. We should have refused it when they brought shot glasses!! Anyway, we brought it back (full) to share with the medical staff at our next gathering!!
After dinner we went to the night market. If we were still hungry we could have had some interesting tidbits. There were starfish, sea horses, scorpions, sea urchins, puppa of some kind, centipeds, kidneys, hearts, and sheep testicles. Or you could actually get chicken, beef, lamb, fruit, or fruit coated in sugar syrup that had hardened. All of these were served on skewers. They also had coconuts that you buy to drink the milk out of. Quite interesting as there were numerous stalls with the same stuff for about 2 blocks in a row.
After that we moved on to the night market that sold souvenirs. Nothing exciting there, just more "hey lady" stuff. Our night continued on with a fabulous foot massage. For $20 Canadian we had our feet soaked in an aromatic bath, our backs and shoulders massaged (as we sat there, fully clothed of course!), then they massaged our feet and lower legs as they served us iced tea and watermelon. It was really fun and felt great!!
We returned to our hotel and went to bed only to be awakened at 3 am by all of the lights in our room coming on! We called the desk, and someone came up to do nothing other than to confirm that pushing the light switches did nothing. They eventually decided that they would move us to another room. So, at 3:30 we packed up and went to a different floor and different room. Luckily they had bath robes and slippers for us to use!! When we went to check out they did not seem to know that we had changed rooms. They even tried to charge us someone else's room service. Considering it is a 4 star hotel (quite nice really) it was surpirising. They did not want to compensate the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) at all for the problems so we left them to deal with each other.
Then the car that we had ordered from the CPC had called 20 minutes early. We said we would be there in 20 minutes, at the appointed time. When we got there though, the car was gone. We waited and then called, to be told that the driver said he had car trouble and would be another hour. I think the driver went on his own way for a bit!! We got a taxi back in the end and all was fine. Luckily a taxi from there to the Village is only $5 (a 25 to 30 minute drive).
The morning since has been uneventful comparatively. The track is winding down. We had a 5th and 7th place finish this morning, as well as one of two athleted advance through semi finals to the final later today. There are 2 finals this evening, the marathon tomorrow with 4 Canadians and then we are DONE!!
Canada is currently 6th in the medal count, from what I have heard...although that may be outdated by now. At this time tomorrow all the competition will be done and I imagine that we will be getting ready for closing ceremonies. The end is in sight.....Paige