Looking forward to the opening ceremonies tonight, from which I’ll be filing web updates and a couple of items for Twitter, which I’m still figuring out. Caught the opener in Turin, and they were awesome. Don’t know if there will be a guy on a tractor like we had in Sydney (never figured that one out). But we know the Chinese won’t follow the Greek lead and have a guy appear with a drill and a hammer, pretending to put together seats at the last minute. Everything here was finished round about the end of 2001, six months after they won the Games. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. They actually had everything ready in 2002.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Canada Olympic House was officially opened on Thursday night with a lovely reception. It’s a restaurant called the Yellowstone BBQ and it’s only a short walk from the Bird’s Nest stadium. Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Rudge got in a good shot at the Can West guys, who were first at the buffet table and first to belly up to the free bar.
IT HAD TO BE HU
Chinese leader Hu Jintao had a busy time of things on Thursday. Xinhua News Agency put out a list of his appointments late that day that read something like: 15:41: Chinese president meets Laotian president 16:12: Chinese president meets Serbian president 16:42: Chinese president meets Belarus president 17:12: Chinese president meets president of Montenegro 17:42: Chinese president meets Brazilian president Wow. Think they talked about the Oakland A’s nine-game losing streak? Or the hazy Beijing skies, maybe? How boring could this possibly be for Hu, anyway? And where was Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s session? Oh, yeah, we forgot.
CH – CH – CH – CHANGES
Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s quite remarkable how different this city looks when the weather clears versus how it looks now. I can see a corner of the Bird’s Nest stadium from the hallway of my media village apartment building, and I snapped two pictures; one on a brilliant day a week ago and another today. Check out the differenc.
It costs eight RMB (about $1.35) for a tall Tsing Tao beer at the media village. It’s also 8 RMB for a smaller one. Which begs the question, who’s buying the small ones for the same price as a large? And how do we get their journalists’ license revoked? Colleague Doug Smith we think has already mentioned this, but the rooftop Coca-Cola bar at the main press centre here has last call at midnight. A lot of sports don’t even end until 11, and guys – and girls – don’t finish work until 2 or 3 many days. So what’s with the earlier closing? Is this Toronto circa 1956 or something?
We guess they have these in those small closets that Europeans live in, but it’s weird for a North American to see a machine that both washes and dries your clothes. How do they do that? Doesn’t something get electrocuted or something?
Went to give out a Canada flag pin I bought in downtown Toronto before leaving and noticed the writing on the back: “Made in China.” Sigh.
ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM
The fastest man in Palau, Jesse Tamangrow, hopes to break his personal best time of 11.00 seconds at the Olympic Games. There are only 20,000 people in the Pacific island republic of Palau, but they’ve sent five athletes to Beijing. Besides Tamangrow, there’s a women’s 100 meter runner, a women’s 50 meter swimmer, a men’s Greco-roman wrestler and a male wrestler. All five athletes were trained in other countries because Palau doesn’t have the facilities. 30