Aug 4, 2008

Written by Ari Taub

August 3, 2008

We traveled to China on Thursday. The plane ride was good.

We all got to sit in the big boy seats. It was the first time Slavi was in the lie flat seats and he said he slept for 8 of the 11.5 hours from Vancouver to China. The seats are small for me so I didn’t sleep much but I was comfortable and well fed and watered. I also watched 3 movies. A good time was had by all. Beijing was interesting to see from the air. There are virtually no cars on the roads and the smog is going away quickly. The trip from the airport to the village was very efficient. We had our own bus and our own lane to drive in. There are guards everywhere whose sole purpose it seems is to make sure we have everything we need and nobody gets in our way. There must be more Olympic volunteers then athletes which is saying a lot as I think there are 16,000 athletes. The facilities in the village are great. Food  – any and every kind you want including McDonalds for those who want to indulge. The workout facility in the village is better than anything I have ever seen in Canada.

This morning we went to the practice facility. There are 14 mats each with their own throwing dummies. We had 3 or 4 volunteers who showed us where to go and made sure we had everything we needed. They brought drinks and snacks. They asked if we wanted the air conditioning turned up or down.

The North American media has been making a big deal of many supposed problems with these games. From what I can see these games will be amazing. It is clear that China has done everything it can to make everything perfect. There is no shortage of humanity in this country and it seems they have all been mobalized to help in the Olympic effort.

The smog problem – what smog problem? The sky is clear blue, not a cloud in the sky. You can see some smog if you look straight ahead instead of up. However, this is true of most big cities. My guess is the smog will decrease as the opening ceremonies get closer.

It is hot here. I think today is 34. However, people talk about something called the humidex index. It is apparently 44 which is supposed to be the heat when you take into account the humidity as well.

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