My Beijing Diaries, Day Two, August 18, 2015, by Larry Eder


Bolt_UsainFH1_OlyGame08.jpgUsain Bolt, 2008 Olympics, photo by

Day two of our Beijing Diaries includes the arrival in Beijing, which went quite well, as well as the fastest queu for me in history, of media accreditation. A cool, clean hotel room, wifi that works, and places to eat and walk are key in my existence.

Beijing Diaries, 2015
Day Two
August 18, 2015

We arrived in Beijing International around 2 pm on Tuesday, August 18.
The flight was uneventful, except for sporadic electricity, and little
wifi. The wifi that worked was managed by tiny armies of gerbils, I believe,
who eat through the cords, or so it seems.

United Airlines continues to astound me. The planes they use for Asian travel
are a bit of a joke, shoving as many people into coach as possible. No entertainment
but the group movies and such, and flights are oversold.

Gentleman next to me was about 6-8 and makes AG Kreuger, the US hammer champion,
look like a boyscout. This guy is ex military, and he could be a whole tank.
Nice guy, he was adopted by the United staff who provided him two or three
regular meals each time meal time came. United staff is fantastic every
time I fly, but their management sucks on how to manage planes on their
long trips or anything from SFO over two hours. I have digressed.

The customs queue was not bad, as a sign, in English, noted World Champs,
and I promptly got in there, with David Oliver, Jenebah Tarmoh and
several others. The teams from the Bahamas and Jamaica were also in
line with us.

As I was about to produce my passport and visa, the lady looking at my
passport was not amused. I thought I was getting thrown out of the line.
But the customs agent next to her told her I was okay to go in this line,
and two hours was saved.

The airport is huge, and busy. Thanks to the USATF team, I joined Andy Ferrara,
Josh Priester, Brooks Johnson and Jenebah Tarmoh on the bus to the Ken Tai hotel.
An uneventful trip to the to the hotel(about an hour in traffic) and I was credentialed in fifteen minutes.

Gray skies greated us as we entered into Beijing. The city continues to grow, and there was always something going on, no matter where we drove through in this great city.

A note on coaching staffs. Sandy Snow has been a special consultant to USATF for
decades. She helps get the teams located, checked in and deals with much of the
challenges of the world's greatest track team traveling the world. I said hello,
seeing she was in full battle mode as the group of sixty athletes arrived at one time.
Sometimes cultures clash and in China, that does happen.

I took a taxi for the thirty minute ride to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express. A
24 hour store, and a few stores, plus a 24 hour restaurant are nearby.

Having slept very little, I arrived, did some work and crashed, my two hours
becoming four hours. After some work, it was already 1 am and time for food.
So, I took a short walk, from the hotel, past a small convenience store, a
gentleman's club, with attractive Chinese women sitting on the steps, smoking.

I continued my walk, with little light around a large truck delivering food stuffs,
and trying to negotiate a small space. As I walked around the truck, I noticed,
in the dark, two local policeman, eating and observing. I said, " Hi!" , they
waved and I was off.

The 24 hour restaurant was clean, open and cheap. I purchased a bowl of soup, about
a quart for $3.44 and a bowl of chicken pieces and onions for $1.85. There were
a couple of folks sleeping on benches, as two of the ladies from the club
arrived, purchased their food and left.

I enjoyed the quiet and simple pleasures of no phones, and no emails. I also wondered
how the election between Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka would turn out.

Interesting things to consider before one walks back to his hotel, on a cool
morning in Beijing. As I maneuvered around the groups of inebriated clubbers
heading home, I considered that, less than twenty four hours ago, I was packing
my clothes in San Jose, giving my parents a kiss and heading to SFO with my
son, Adam, joking and discussing issues of the world.

Your athletic pilgrim is indeed in China....

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