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Adam’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008

Location: Beijing, China

MapNi Hao (hello) all,

Wow, this place is phenomenal. We have had little to chance to stop since we have arrived so sorry for not getting this updated earlier. We could go on for ever here with what we have seen and experienced in just two days but we will try and keep it as short as possible.

The Flight - Thai Airways were very good but it was a long time after getting up around 6am Sunday morning we had my nephew's christening then we waited until we had to head off to the airport. We flew out of Sydney at 9.10pm next stop Brisbane for an hour. From here we went to Bangkok international airport where we had to stop for four hours. Also with the 3 hour time differnce form Aust. it made for a long journey. The food was great and we watched a few movies on the way over. No sleep though not the most comfortable place to rest your eyes. Next stop Beijing of which we arrived at 4.20pm Monday afternoon.

Now can these guy's build shed's Lou I think you should look them up for the next one, it is supposedly a square kilometre in size, huge. We got into our hostel at around 7pm that night and so far so good. We were at this stage surprised at how easy it has been to get here. It has been this way the whole time we have been here also. After a quick shower and change from two day old clothes we where off to meet all the other aussies over here supporting Kurt.

We meet them ata beer bar in Wangfujiong st?? There are no cars in this area kind of like Pit St in Sydney. Restaurants everywhere. massive TV's and lots of people. After a few refrshing ale's it was off for some dinner. We went to a duck restaurant, and Peking Duck. The Ducktor came out and cut the full duck up in front of our table and served it to us from there. You wrap it up in little pancakes with some other stuff and it was quiet nice. Check out the pictures to see what we mean by Ducktor!!

Our hostel room is very good and rediculously cheap at au$45 a night.

Tuesday morning we headed off for a walk and ended up at the silk and pearl markets. This place is a little crazy. People literally jump out of their little stores and grab you and start saying, you want bag or you want jacket, etc. They get bloody annoying after about 2 minutes of it. We haggled a hat down for Kathryn from 235 yuan to 60 yuan and I still feel as though we got ripped off. They try and make yo feel like you are ripping them off.

We had a good walk around and came across Reitan park, which used to be the site for ceremonious sacrifices to the Sun God. It was here that we realised just how social and active the Chinese population appears to be. We sat and watched two elderly couples play a game like Hacky Sack, when I say elderly I mean about 9o years old. The two bloke had their shirts off and I wish my body resembled theirs. Everybody was singing, dancing, playing instruments, tai chi etc. The park was very picturesque as well.

Olympic stadium time. Now over here they have lines on their roads very similar to that in Australia which we believe are meant to identify the lane you are supposed to drive in and we use that term loosely. It is as though evrybody is in a race against each other weaving in and out of busses, other cars, bikes and people. They beep their horn a lot but not in anger but to let you know they are coming through, the bigger the horn the quicker you get out of the way, organised chaos would be the bestway to describe it.

So we arrive at the stadium with Sheridan for me t witness my first Chinese toilet, it is literally a hole in the ground, see picture. Through security we go only to loose our bottled water and fruit. We had to arrive at the stadium at 2.30pm so as to be at the front of the line to get in so as we could get the best seats. So here we are not to far from the front and Sheridan informs that this is going to be a little crazy and just keep up with her and don't stop for anyone as they will not for us. It was time to make like a rugby prop and clean everyone out in our path. I thought the racing was supposed to happen for the athletes but don't the crowd get into it. The gates open and we are off sprinting our way to the seats through a sea of people in an attempt to save 14 seats on the fence, knocking old ladies and children out of our way the mission was accomplished. Keeping in mind this is 2.30pm the first race does not start untill 5.30pm. The rest of the crew arrived aroud 6pm and during that 3 and a half hours we valiantly fought away all to hold onto to our seats by the fence. They are persistant buggers.

Kurt came out and if you saw the race was unluckily clipped and spun out back to 7th or 8th but he still managed to get back up and going and finish 3rd. This was an amazing effort. We caught he subway back into town and had Mcdonalds for dinner. Similar menu iems just flavoured differently, but they do have garlic and chilli dipping sauce for the nuggets and it is amazing. Home to bed then.

5.30am alarm goes off, no movement 5.40am still going off, time to get up. We had to be at the track early again to have the best seats. Cab ride out there the other guys were running a little bit late so time to race and save seats again, needs to be seen to be believed. Marathoin started at 7.30am with no coverage in the stadium at all but they had some entertainment on for us which was good. We had no idea what was happening out on the course and for the 42 k's we saw 500 metres. But it was the most amazing feeling to see Kurt come into the stadium first, just typing this in I am getting goosebumps again. We all explode in excitement as he pushes past with us screaming our lungs out at him, but most importantly the second time he came past he was still winning and took out the gold medal. Wait until you see the video that Kathryn was taking it is all good untill about the last 30 metres when the camera goes in the air getting waved around and piercing screams coming form all of us. There was not a dry eye amongst us. It was amazing to be there and witness it.

I have forgotten to mention that we are rock stars over here. everybody wants to have their photo taken with the aussies. As there is a huge chinese crowd and from what we saw only about 30 aussies amongst the 100 000 strong crowd. It got to the point today thatwe were completly surrounded by people taking photos and we could not get out people grabbing and pulling at you a little daunting, just had to put the head flex a bit and push the little buggers out of the way.

Anyway have said enough will get back later with some more detail but all good so far. Will now try and upload this and some pictures. Rather difficult when all of the instructions are in Chinese.

Have fun, Adam and Kathryn.

P.s Kathryn is actually drinking beer too and 1 aussie dollar a go, it is a little hard to take.