My flight to Beijing was pretty uneventful. The thirteen hours of flight gave me times to read four newspapers, sleep and relax. The Beijing airport is huge, and looks very new. Olympic signage from Samsung, Coca-Cola adorn the airport.
The Beijing airport was closed for ten hours, from midnight to ten in the morning on Saturday. This was a security precaution for the Beijing opening ceremony. By the end of Saturday, the day I arrived, 440 flights had arrived!
Beijing set a record, for this media person, by the speed at which we were credentialed. I think I was in line for two minutes-seriously. Compare that to 90 minutes at the US Olympic Trials.
My bag arrived quite easy and I headed to the arrival area, looking for the driver to Chateau Regalia, my hotel. As I was searching for the driver, a young Chinese LOC assistant, a young women of about twenty, asked me if she could help, in perfect ..
English. She found my driver, carrying a Reebok sign and I was off. I was trying to thank my LOC help, but by that time, she was on to help another weary traveler.
The ride to Shunyi took about twenty minutes. My first feeling as I went to the car was the absolute wall of heat and humidity that hit one as they left the airport. I was quite happy when the air conditioning came into the car. I offered my driver a $5 tip-he smiled but turned it down.
At the Chateau Regalia, I was provided a key for my room and driven to building c9. The building are three to ten stories and look like American condominiums. Customer Service, on 24 hours in our building, will help you find a order for food to be delivered, but in my case, when I called, all restaurants were closed, a young smiling CSR came to my suite ( I am sharing with two other Reebok employees) and offered me some noodles, some spicy crackers and an apple to keep me satiated for twelve hours. It is that type of kindness that warms ones heart and does surprise one in a new country.)
So, the Olympic ceremony got off without a hitch, most of the 10,450 athletes coming to Beijing are here, 15,000 media are definitely in town. One athlete gets 1.24 media representatives. I am watching English speaking CCTY 9, and they spoke of the US team as acting "distinguished
I am about to crash, once again, but will begin my discovery of Beijing and China on Sunday and will fill you in, plus send pictures!
The heat did surprise me, but as I went down this pristine side road, lined with young green trees whitewashed up to three feet on each trunk. I noticed several women in hats sweeping the gutters. The roads were quite clean.
As we went by, each and every security person, and there are many, there were smiles greeting this member of the media as he entered the gated neighborhood where his hotel is located. As the cars go by, a single Chinese man, riding a bike mutated to carry food supplies, sweaty, his shirt soiled with dirt, looked over at us for a moment, and then went on his way...
Speak to you tomorrow!