Paige Larson: Winding Down in Beijing

I wonder if the crane will cease to be the official bird of Beijing now that the Games are over?? Time will tell how things go….

Closing ceremonies were pretty good, but not the best. There was one really neat part with a bunch of performers on wires above the infield with clouds above them. There were also guys all around the edges on wires, and all of them did flips and stuff as they were moved up and down on the wires. Otherwise, not very noteable….

The after-party was in front of our apartments as we had a party with the Australian team, and a few others who came by for a visit. It was nice to talk to some people that have been too busy, or who have not been where I have been! Since it was an early morning to cover the marathon, I turned in at midnight, but heard that things carried on until about 4.

This morning I went to the Ming Tombs with Linda, one of the doctors, and Maggie, an athletic therapist. We hired a taxi for the day, for $20 each and off we went. The Ming Tombs are about a 45 minute drive north of the Village. There are 13 of 16 Ming Emporers buried there is elaborate Tombs, with grounds and buildings all around them. There are only 3 open to the public, and a number of them are also falling to ruin.The Ming Dynasty was from 1368 to 1644, when they rebuilt part of the Great Wall and constructed the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. One of the Tombs had an area under ground that you could go into, but it was a let down as it was very plain and just had large red boxes for the caskets. Not what we expected based on what was outside and above ground. The Tombs are quite spread out and we had to drive between each one for about 5 to 10 minutes.

After the third Tomb, we had lunch in a little restaurant. The food was excellent, and we sat in a private room, table for 8 with the traditional lazy susan in the middle. Rice, sweet and sour beef, eggplant, a coke and 2 beer came to $30. Things here are generally very well priced by our standards! And the beer comes in 600 ml bottles, too!

Things are packing up here in the Village, with the trading frenzy well under way. People are moving out so there are less people about. I did enjoy a free hair cut in the International zone today, and we have the Team Canada medical dinner tonight.  Looking forward to some home comforts, but will enjoy my last day of Village life and life in China tomorrow!

Cheers, Paige

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