11:32am, 9-6-2008

24 hours travel time! It took nearly 24 hours total to get to the
hotel, and was a lot harder than I remembered from traveling even 4
years ago. As I write this at 11AM, it is around 10PM back in Texas.
After two day, the jetlag is not nearly so bad. The bed is a 1″
thick plywood plank with about 1″ of cotton on top, kinda. Otherwise
completely similar to any other hotel room, and far better than some,
that I have stayed in before.

Ok, having recovered from jetlag we have been out to the CoSports
people – halfway across Beijing, away from the Olympic areas, go
figure, to pick up some 74 tickets for all the different events that
we are going to see- wheelchair tennis, rugby (aka murderball), and of
course, archery. With some track events, the opening and closing
ceremonies, and even some swimming.
Initially they were selling tickets to the ranking round of the
archery, and I was pretty happy at that – in Athens the ranking was
not open to the public, on a tiny field with no bleachers or stands.
So I thought, “hey, they got their act together here in Beijing”, and
was eagerly waiting to go to the ranking event.
Then found out this morning that the tickets I have are worthless and
there is no way for spectating during the ranking round. argh. It
will still happen, but for some unknown reason no body thinks that it
is worth allowing people to watch. Don’t they know how good archery
is? :) :) :)
Anyway, each ticket has a computer chip in it, and we are cautioned to
not fold them, get them wet, yadda yadda or they won’t work, and there
are NO replacements for lost or damaged tickets – no ticket, no entry.

oh well, on to more sightseeing. Yesterday we took in the silk
street building and Yashow, large 6 story buildings crammed full of
vendors and wares, each in 10 foot or 20 foot booths, and the word
aggressive does not begin to describe the vendors – they grab your arm
and try to drag you into their space, in order to sell you something
at 4 times the value they are willing to accept. You must offer them
1/4 of what you are willing to pay, and you take turns typing the
number on their hand-held calculator. They know how to sell in
french, english, spanish, and some other languages I couldn’t begin to
describe or identify. You get the best price when you give up, thank
them, and then walk away. For westerners, it is very unsettling, at
least it is for me – I don’t do haggle very well, I guess. But they
had bags, shoes, shirts, techie stuff, you name it. But if you don’t
haggle right, you end up paying far more for it than you would at a
regular department store. So if arguing is fun for you, these places
are it!
I have discovered that texasarchery.org is blocked. No kidding.
Can’t get there from here. So I am going to post blindly, and will
try to sneak out some photos somehow….The air is kinda visible, but
no worse than Athens’ worst days.
I have only hit my head on short doors twice, and have stopped wearing
a baseball cap (so that I can see the damn thing coming). Both times
it was only slightly amusing to the chinese onlookers…

On to the tourist spots for now, and I will start writing more as the
competitions get underway.

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