Tarr Checks in from Beijing
Aug. 20, 2008
Ni hao from Beijing!
I haven't had much access to email, which for me, is probably a good thing. So far our stay in Beijing has been more that I expected. It's a city that I compare in many ways to a combination between New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles in size, magnitude and vibe.
We traveled to the Great Wall and spent about two hours climbing up and down the stairs of the immense structure - it would be an awesome way to condition our team. Can you imagine that this 7th wonder of the world spans about 6,000 kilometers and can be seen from the moon? We have also spent time touring the Forbidden City (Gu Gong) - it's an amazingly large space - so vast and immense that I can't even begin to describe it. This grand palace has 9,999 rooms in it, at the request of the emperor for whom the palace was originally built.
Of course, I have done some shopping...there's a few markets here that are absolutely overwhelming. You can barter for anything and everything, Coach purses, ipods, Wii's, pearl necklaces, etc. I have only purchased a watch, but plan on doing more damage later.
Also - so as to not forget the reason I came here...the SOFTBALL has been really exciting to watch. We have seen almost all of the games so far. Fengtai Softball Stadium is located to the southwest of Beijing - quite far away from the center. It's about a $10 cab ride - which in US dollars seems cheap, but in China it's relatively inexpensive - the cab ride takes about 25 minutes.
It's been really neat to see Danielle Lawrie with the Canadian team. She has had several opportunities to pitch and every time we see her we are amazed to know what she and her team have been through to get to this point. Today we will watch them play Australia - a team of women who are all around my age! If Canada wins, they advance to play the loser of the USA vs. Japan game. The winner of that game advances to play for the Gold medal, while the loser of that game gets the Bronze.
Everything about Beijing is awesome. The softball, the history, and even the weather... The only bad this is our inability to communicate. My years of studying Spanish is definitely NOT paying off. So far all I know how to say in Mandarin (Chinese) is hello, thank you, and you're welcome!
More to follow!