Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Best Day Yet

Today was a very eventful day. My favorite so far. We did some sightseeing in the morning and then spent the evening at the track.

Troy has been wanting to see the Forbidden City since he saw it on TV during the Olympics so we headed over there first thing this morning. This place was gorgeous. The first part was covered in gardens and very interesting buildings. It was a photographers dream. I would have LOVED to have a photoshoot there. Man were there some locations that were to die for. Troy was a wonderful husband and humored me while I spent some time taking pictures.

We then walked through to the other side which was about 1 km. Not bad if it was a straight path, but there were HUNDREDS of stairs. They had added a few ramps along the way to make it easier, but these ramps were practically straight up and down. Luckily for me, someone would always run over and help me up. Apparently they could tell that there was no way that I could do it on my own. Troy, on the other hand, they saw his muscles and didn't give him a whole lot of help. I guess there is an up side to being wimpy :). Needless to say, after pushing on cobblestone and going up and down for several hours, I am quite sore tonight. But it was worth it because it was an incredible sight.

All along the path both sides were lined with this beautiful mosiac of small stones that were made into various pictures. I can't even begin to imagine how long that it took to make these roads hundreds of years ago. Incredible, not fun to wheel over, but incredible.

You would think in a country that has 1 billion people they might know what an elevator was and have a need for them, but apparently that is more than they can handle. Elevators are few and far between here in China. Even in the stadium the only elevators are behind closed doors that you have to be escorted to. All the people walk up the 5 or more flights of stairs to get to their seats, which is totally unheard of in the US. Maybe that is why the Chinese are so much skinnier than all of us back home. Since we have been here we have had some interesting lift rides, but this one takes the prize for the most creative. Seriously this is how they took us up a flight of stairs today. No, this is not connected to anything other than the man that is walking with it. Yeah, kind of scary, but it did the job I guess. The Chinese men were laughing at me that I was taking a picture of this, but come on you would never see an "elevator" like this in the US.

The Chinese Elevator:

So after the Forbidden City we decided to hop on the subway and head on over to the Bird's Nest. 2 hours later finally made it--it probably would have only take 20-30 min in a taxi, but you have to experience everything in a new city right? Yeah, that will be the last time we take the subway.

Being at the Bird's Nest tonight was a spectacular sight. The stadium holds 91,000 people and nearly all of the seats were full. You don't understand, I have NEVER in my life seen anything this. I think I mentioned it before, but people unfortunately just don't watch disabled sports events in the US or pretty much anywhere else for that matter. The Chinese were going crazy and seemed to be loving every minute of it. I am still in shock really. I don't think that another Paralympic Games will ever compare to these because the people have been SO amazingly supportive. You would think that they were watching the NBA finals or the Superbowl. I am so grateful to all of them that have come out to support the games. You can't get a ticket to most of the events which has absolutely shocked us.

We watched a lot of exciting races, but they saved the best for last. Erik had his 400m semi-final. He had a great race and pushed very well, but he ended up in 10th place I believe and only the top 8 advance. He was still very happy to though because this is his weakest of his 4 events. Even better things are yet to come. Unfortunately, it was raining pretty good by the time it came for him to race and you know being from AZ he is not used to pushing in the rain.

I love this picture of Troy. He was looking out over the track watching Erik race. Being in the stands as a coach rather than as an athlete on the track is totally new for Troy. I think that he has been more nervous for Erik this trip than Erik has been. He has gotten heartburn before each of his races and has lost his voice screaming for Erik. Heartburn is common before he races, but I didn't think that he would have the same reaction for Erik. This is a sign of a great coach. He definitely cares a lot about Erik and wants him to do well.

After the races I took a few quick pictures of the Water Cube from the stadium. It is such a beautiful building at night with all of the changing lights. Awesome!

I am now absolutely exhausted so I better head to bed so I can get going again tomorrow.

1 comment:

Cassie Simonton said...

This is such an AMAZING TRIP...I am SOOOO JEALOUS....have I mentioned that already? Love all the pictures Jodi you are an AMAZING photographer!!
I love that the Chinese are coming to all the events...your right it's sad that the paralympics doesn't get the publicity it deserves...to me these athletes are more amazing, to have a disability and to be able to do what they do is unbelievable!!!
Wish I could be their...cheer for me at the races!!!
Have fun...and be safe...that human elevtor made me nervous!!!;)