We've spent Monday and Tuesday checking out broadcast positions for the various venues in Beijing. Monday was spent at the Water Cube, which is just as cool as everyone says that it is....in fact, most of these new buildings are very well done. The Bird's Nest, which is the site of the Opening Ceremonies, is strange to look at, but a compelling building.
The Water Cube is startling when seen up close at night. It glows. I've not been inside at night yet, but they say that it gives you the feeling of being underwater when you're in the building at night.
My other exciting experience came earlier today, when we went downtown to the Beijing Silk Market. Picture a 6 story building, filled with allegedly name brand merchandise, and small Chinese women trying to push this merchandise on you at an aggressive rate. That's the Silk Market.
You walk down narrow hallways, surrounded by merchandise. Girls reach out and grab at your arms every few feet, trying to pull you into their little area. Then, the fun really begins. Say you are looking at a sweater, as I was earlier today. You get pulled into the booth, and she pulls out a calculator. "Now, this...this is price I give others...but I like you, so here is price for you." Then, she quotes some ridiculous price for this sweater, like 1520 yuan, roughly 220 USD. You laugh, and the game begins. You finally work your way down to garage sale prices. Long sleeve "Polo" shirt? 6 bucks. Sweater? 10 bucks. That's how the game is played. It is extremely addictive, kind of like going to an auction.
You can find almost anything in the world at this Silk Market, and usually very cheap. Great experience in Beijing.
Tomorrow, more preparation for the start of the Olympics....the US swimming press conference. Yeah! I hear Michael Phelps may get a question or two directed his way.