It has been a great couple of days. We just got back from a day and a half excursion from the village. On Tuesday, August 5, after our morning practice we set out for Beijing Normal University or BNU. This is where my coach and the other assistant coaches are staying. They have a restaurant there available for all US athletes. The food was awesome! We had a great lunch and then set out for the Courtyard Marriott. We got settled then headed out for an early dinner at a famous restaurant that served Beijing duck, as well as many other dishes. It was great to get to eat such a famous dish at such a famous restaurant.
Kenny, Laura and I at the hotel
After dinner we went to a Chinese Acrobatic Show. It was truly amazing. I saw bodies perform feats of strength, flexibility and balance I didn’t think possible. After the show, we got to go on stage and take a picture with the performers. It was lots of fun.
Although I really enjoyed my meals that day, I actually got pretty sick that night. It was a rough night, but thankfully I felt much better in the morning, and was excited for the day ahead. We were headed to the Great Wall!
AT&T sponsored the trip, and they hired someone from Getty Images to take pictures for us. I haven’t seen them yet, but I really excited for them! I was especially glad he was there because he came to my rescue when my camera ran out of batteries. It was about an hour bus ride out the Wall, and when we got there we rode a Gondola up to the wall. From there we took a ton of pictures and explored up and down it for a while. It is pretty steep and kind of uneven, so it was quite a workout, but truly a great experience to get to see one of the wonders of the world.
So we rode a Gondola up, but we took a toboggan down! It was really fun--definitely the highlight of my trip to the wall. I'll post a pic of that soon.
After we got to the bottom, we did a little shopping, and I got a t-shirt. Then we went to a great little restaurant called The School House. They had great food, but also a shop with lots of handmade glass pieces. We got to see how they make it when they did a glass blowing demonstration for us. It was super interesting. Here is a video of it.
When we went back to the hotel, I opted to go to the Chinese grocery store instead of taking a shower. I don’t know why I am so fascinated by foreign grocery stores, but I am. It is just amazing how different everything is, while there are still familiar things. It was a very busy time so there were a lot of people there.
It was a great day and a half away from the village. However, this morning, it felt good to be back “home.” Practices are going well. I am SO EXCITED for Opening Ceremonies tomorrow. I have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for this day. I really can’t contain how excited I am, and everyone on the team is feeling it too. Less than 24 hours!!
On another note, more and more countries are coming in. Before we left, the village had been pretty quiet, but now many more people are here and there is much more of a “buzz” in the air. I am glad we got here and were able to get settled before a ton of people came. I think I would have been overwhelmed a little if I had just walked into it the way the atmosphere is now. It really is exciting (I keep saying that, don’t I?) But it is!! : )