Greetings from Beijing! Yes, I have successfully again made it halfway around the world, this time not for work, but a much-needed vacation. When my dear friend Jessica invited me to come out during the Olympics, I didn’t hesitate, but instead booked a flight the very next day. She and her husband Andrew are over here for a year – she’s taken an overseas assignment for Google and he’s working for Coke for the Olympics – so not only did I get to catch up with my awesome pals, but perhaps catch an event or two. Or, as it will be, four. Let’s recap the experience so far, shall we?
After a crazy weekend in Vegas for my friend Brandy’s bachelorette party, I boarded a plane less than 24 hours later en route to Beijing. Pretty uneventful flight – ended up chatting with an NBC Cameraman who has covered the last 4 Olympics and rode on Air Force One, etc. Super interesting guy, and made the flight go way faster. (AND he was gentlemanly enough for me to take over the extra seat between us so I could appropriately crash…thanks, Jon & Ambien!) After landing, realized my friend Jen was on the flight (all high-falootin’ in Biz Class) so was great to catch up with her, albeit briefly. Then made my way into the city to meet up with Jess & Andrew, and we headed out with their friends Susan & Kaz for a yummy Thai dinner (that I think slightly food poisoned us all – oops) and over to the Heinekin Holland House for some party time, excellent.
My new friends Kris & Robert suggested we meet there, and alas, amongst a sea of orange (the dutch are VERY patriotic, what with tulips and orange shirts and, you know, other Dutch stuff galore) we gallivanted and cavorted and saw women with double-strapped fanny packs and the worst bigger-than-lifesize poster I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE and convoluted our bodies into the right side of a tulip and oh! Posed for pictures inside of a windmill cutout. See?
Those Dutch know how to throw a party.
Woke up Wednesday morning bright-eyed, bushy-somethinged and with the requisite sore throat that is your welcoming gift from Beijing, courtesy of the smog. Spent a lazy morning just chilling & uploading photos, and went over to this cool noodle house in a renovated blade factory with Andrew & Kaz for some "Wide Noodle Bowl With Brisket" and "Coca-Cola Light" lunch. (Also had spicy seaweed salad, and in case you were wondering, it’s no match for my fave wakame.) Later, Andrew & I made our way to the Olympic Green to meet Jess, and start our evening of Olympics-ing.
Not gonna lie – it was pretty surreal to be walking past The Today Show filming live from the Green (and then actually see them broadcast and BE ON TV IN THE CROWD!!!!!) and I was frankly surprised that it wasn’t more packed. There are a few venues on the official green – The Water Cube, Olympic Stadium (which is where the opening & closing ceremonies are, as well as Track & Field – it’s nicknamed The Bird’s Nest) and you actually need a ticket to be able to get on the green. They’re pretty huge about security as well – I had to go through a metal detector and be wanded after getting out of one subway stop & before going into the other one.
All the swimming & diving events are in The Water Cube, which looks a bit ‘meh’ by day, but at night, lights up and changes colors. It’s actually really impressive inside & out, and while I won’t disclose whose seats we sat in to watch the races, I will divulge that this person could buy and sell me probably a few hundred thousand times over. Thankfully for me, THEY were absent and WE were able to ogle the men’s swim team from kickass seats.
While we’re speaking of the US Men’s Swim team, let me first start by saying that I don’t make it a habit to go around ogling men. Sure, I appreciate their uniqueness and their hotness but OH MY DEAR LORD HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST, these mens’ bodies are the pinnacle of perfection. Enough to make me turn into one of THOSE GIRLS…you know, the ones that end up going to strip clubs and scream "Take it off!" while simultaneously drowning their sorrows in overpriced well drinks and chain-smoking their way to a life full of trailerpark fun. Their torsos…ok. Must stop now. It’s getting hot in here (and sadly, the swim team isn’t around to take off all their clothes, as the song dictates.)
The races themselves were pretty cool – no medal rounds during the evening event, but did see 2 Olympic Records broken and Michael Phelps basically kick ass and show that he is in a league of his own. Though I didn’t have any (thanks, Thai food, for that upset tummy) I was quite pleased to note that Tsingtao beers were LESS THAN A DOLLAR. (I know I’ve been over-using capitals in this post, but seriously? 75 cents for a brewski? I can get behind that in the same way one of the Olympic swimmers can get behind…ok fine. I’ll stop now.)
The venues are so beautiful at night & there was just a great energy with everyone milling about, taking photos, etc. but again, was surprised that it wasn’t that crowded. Maybe after the track & field events begin.
Today was another lazy morning – did a few hours of work, then went downstairs to this suprisingly swanky spa for a 90-minute massage (that cost me a whopping $30) and made me look like I had a very unfortunate run-in with a Liter of Astroglide. (They also massage ALL OF YOU, which surprised me and made me giggle in anticipation of telling my guy friends which then made me think that the masseuse thought I was getting turned on, so spent a good 10 minutes "Dead Puppies"-ing to get the smirk off my face. In case you wondered.) Right now, we’re supposed to be off to watch beach volleyball, and I’m all ready to get my ogle on, but alas, it’s raining (which is needed, since it’s hot and muggy and smoggy) so they’re delayed or something so not sure what’s next. My cousin – who I probably haven’t seen in 7 years! – who lives in Shanghai arrives tonight for the weekend, and tomorrow Jess and I are watching Badminton (wonder if there’s ogling opportunities there?) and Saturday we’re all off to the Men’s & Women’s Tennis bronze & gold medal rounds, which should be – say it with me – FUCKING AMAZING. I’m jonesing to see Federer & Nadal and the Williams sisters live, who are all four still in the semi-finals, so I’m pretty psyched for the next few days.
Check out all the pics here, but never fear, much more to come from Beijing. Off to get my ogle on.