I truly had such high hopes for blogging daily while I was traveling last month in China and Japan. The initial challenges with Internet access and (alas!) work got in the way of good intentions. So, in bits and pieces, I hope to recreate some of my favorite memories and experiences… especially now as I’m going through the pictures from this amazing adventure!
Top 5 reasons why the Beijing Paralympics lived up to its “Amazing Awaits” tagline:
1) The People. No matter where you are in the world – no matter what the political or economic or religious situation/strife/mentality – it all comes down to the people. In Beijing, I encountered some of the most friendly and open people I’ve ever met, with contagious enthusiasm for whatever the moment had in store.
2) Unexpected Blue Sky Days. Note picture, which is not photoshopped.
3) The Venues. Yes, I am narrowly focused because I spent 95% of my time in – and working from! – the Water Cube (officially: National Aquatics Center), but the venues were phenomenal. The Cube was mesmorizing, especially seen from night with the outside bubble exterior changing from turquoise to violet amidst the festive music coming from the plaza.
4) Shooting Star. Yes, I actually saw a shooting star one night – and no, it was not a lead toy being thrown out a factory window as one friend accused! While we were there a total of 20 days, we had at least three clear nights of seeing stars. Granted, it was nowhere near what we get from our clear Colorado skies and the air wouldn’t even come close to an autumn day on the east coast, but hey, when you set your expectations low, you can be content with less than stellar outcomes. (However… don’t even get me started on the topic of low expectations when it comes to Palin!)
5. Photos. Topping my list of experiences during all of September was my walk between the Water Cube and the Birdsnest. Whether it was early morning with only a handful of people walking about and the fountain water show just warming up; or the evening walk back to the hotel with joyous music blaring, people posing for pictures everywhere you turned, little kids yelping as they ran through fountain dodging the spurts water…. I took my time and slowed down during that walk, taking in every moment and trying not to forget it. I’ve never seen so many people so unconditionally happy in one place. To me, the smiles, enthusiasm and simple appreciation for a new experience that I witnessed in that plaza epitomize my experience in Beijing.
Still pictures won’t do it justice, so check out Joe’s blog (the entry “Random acts of Happiness”) for a quick video.