Olympics 2008, Beijing
These new and/or upgraded stadiums are built all over Beijing.
During the Olympic Games, you cannot enter to visit them or step into the compound around them unless you have a ticket for the event on that day due to crowd and security concerns.
Now that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over, it is worth visiting them to see the architecture modern wonders where Olympic history was made. Like the Basketball Stadium where USA Basket Men's team won their gold medal beating Spain where David Beckham attended. And where USA trounced China men's team with their superstar Yao Ming in the presence of US President George Bush Jr and First Lady Laura Bush.
We had not meant to visit this but we met some fellow Israelis on top of the Great Wall and they said they had seen the stadium from the top of a high building next to the Olympic Site and so our guide, Alvin said he would take us there too.
Actually it was more interesting than I had expected. We saw the stadium, the swimming pool and the strange Torch shaped building which are the athletes' living quarters.
China in general and Beijing in particular is in the grips of Olympic Games fever. Many companies use their sponsorship in their own marketing (well, that's only to be expected), so you see the logo almost everywhere. By the Tiananmen Square (outside the History Museum) there is a countdown clock counting days, hours and minutes until the Beijing Olympics opening event on 8 August 2008. For the Chinese, this date is very auspicious as 8 is a lucky number in Chinese thought, and imagine how lucky 3 times 8 would then be...! The fact that China got to arrange the Olympic Games is an infinite source of pride and much of Beijing in particular is being revamped to welcome the masses of athletes, journalists and sports fans.
There are shops selling Beijing Olympics paraphernalia; the five mascots in all possible sizes and shapes, t-shirts, hats, pens of all descriptions, mugs, bags...
Being China, also fakes abound, so the official manufacturers have taken precautions in a way that would seem an overkill in Europe. But not so in China, as I did see a lot of fakes being sold too. The real stuff is sold in special designated shops or stalls in big department stores, they have a label that has security features probably making some national bank managers green with envy. As stated on the label: 1. There is a 3 mm wide hologram thread on the label, 2. Beijing 2008 is embossed on the lower part of the front side, 3. The label's design is embossed on the front side.
Very easy to get here by subway.
For a fee and after a security check , you can enter the bird nest ...
I had bad luck with the weather ....well, I can not control that ...( yet ;-) )