Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paralmpics in Beijing, China

My husband Troy and I are in Beijing, China right now watching the Paralympics. It is AMAZING! Troy is a much better writer and he sent out an email to those back home so I thought I would add it to my blog so everyone can get an update.

After a long 12 hour flight out of San Francisco, Jodi and I made it to Beijing a few days ago. After taking part of our first day and night to recover from jetlag we spent our first full day in Beijing. We began the day by going to a market called Ya Show, which is 4 floors of entertainment. Each floor was full of clothing dealers, each believing that they had exactly what you need. We walked up and down the rows of endless clothes with this young chinese girls grabbing Jodi saying, 'hey lady, how many you want?' It was a huge benefit to have Sunny with us who spoke Chinese to help us negotiate a better price. For example, I purchased a Giorgio Armani button up shirt, which the young girl started me at $280 RMB (which is about $47, cheap in the US). Sunny told me that was much too high and after a few minutes of intense bargaining in Chinese, I walked away with that shirt paying $40 RMB (less than $7). One of the main goals of the trip was for me to buy suits, which I have 2 custom suits being made now for only $1000 RMB ($167) per suit, which I go for to my second sitting tomorrow to ensure they got the measurements correct and finalize the fitting. Jodi left with several bags of clothing, which she got amazing bargains on as well.

We concluded the evening by attending the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies which was nothing short of spectacular! Jodi and I had great seats, on the first row above one of the 4 entrances (that way no one could stand in front of me... and believe me, the Chinese stood and cheered almost the entire time). The Chinese have been extremely enthusiastic about the games, at each seat for the Opening Ceremonies they gave the spectators a bag full of accessories to participate in the Ceremonies. Included in the bag were a flashlight, a rainbow colored spinning flashlight (like you would buy at Disneyland), flags, sashes, etc. They would turn the lights down inside the stadium and 91,000 spectators would turn on their flashlights, it was an absolute amazing site! Like the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the Paralympic Opening was loaded full of Chinese performers. My favorite were 2,000 eight to ten year old boys who were studying marshall arts, I called them 'Little Ninja Turtles' because the costumes they wore reminded me of a Ninja Turtle. Following the Ceremonies, the Ninja Turtles were gathered together ourside of the stadium sitting in the grass. I got out of my chair, crawled into the middle of hundreds of them and had Jodi take our picture (unfortunately Jodi didnt bring her flash, so the picture didnt turn out so great), but the experience was amazing! It didnt take much to get these energetic boys riled up and I had them all cheering, waiving and giving me high fives... they were the coolest little Ninja Turtles!

Here are the "Little Ninja Turtles" coming out of the tunnel preparing for battle:

Following the Ceremonies, we exited with the other 91,000 people and trying to grab a taxi was another once in a lifetime experience. With hundreds of taxis bobbing and weaving through the streets taking no regard for whomever was in front of them, we thought it impossible to flag one of these guys down. Fortunately, I found a young police officer who spoke English and he stepped out in front of an oncoming taxi, which he stopped for a policeman and we got it.

We are now beginning day 3 with Erik's first races scheduled to begin tomorrow. We are now heading to what Sunny calls 'Silk Street', which is a huge indoor market. We had plans to go to see some of the sights of Beijing, but it is raining so we will stay indoors.


We will try update as the week progesses!

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