Once we negotiated the Mongolian boarder and Julia almost got Wild Swans confiscated! we entered into China and hit the capital, Beijing. And wow, what a few days.
The vibe as soon as we got there was phenomenal. Olympic banners everywhere, thousands of volunteers in blue tops scattered all over the city. Backpacks on, we sampled the metro, the only one where you’re relieved to get on the train because it’s so well air conditioned! We eased ourselves into Beijing easily walking by night to Tienanmen Square. It was our first sample of the smog.. it’s so oppressive the light is reflected back so it never gets truly dark at night. Next morning, we headed to the Olympic village to try and get us some tickets, wheelers and dealers everywhere. Americans, Scousers, Cockneys and even an Essex boy. I managed to
nab me a free fencing ticket and got to go near the Birds nest and the Cube.
At the Forbidden City, we were plagued with Chinese asking to take our photograph, especially of Julia and Kate; they love the blondes. Those were the ones that asked, others just faced their lens in our direction and
snapped away. I believe they have some hideous photos of us that they will probably show all the family…
First event we saw was boxing, we started on the beer (even Kate) and got our loutish voices out, supporting any country from Tajikistan to Mongolia. Ireland was also boxing, so we went to join the fans when Nevin was
up. The banter was fantastic, shouting ‘Ji-ao John Joe’ and ‘Come on you boy in blue’. An irish victory inevitably led to an irish fuelled celebration; off to Paddy O’Sheas it was. Drinks were flowing! We made it back to our hostel for 7. Our networking meant rowing tickets for the next day so we got to see GB 4’s win their heat, who were to go on to get the gold. We like to think the 3 of us personally contributed to their success. Our last day in Beijing, it tipped it down but we got to the wall!
It’s great to be at the games, especially with GBR doing so well. London 2012 will have a lot to live up to.
Xi’an was the next stop, with only one day the girls went off to the Terracotta Warriors. Chongqing was next, having travelled half the distance of China in less than 40 hours we were exhausted. This is another typical Chinese city, very few foreigners. They are all very interested in us at the clubs, Julia made a lot of friends with the locals. The girls hit the podium and in return got a whole host of free drinks. Amongst the Chinese pop music there is also English classics including 5ive and Robbie Williams!
Now we’re off down the Yangtze so see what’s left of the three gorges!