Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics Update #10: The Olympic Village

Dear Family & Friends,

Wow !!!! what a past few days, with my home land in 3rd place in the medal table, only China & the USA have more medals, the Brit's are over the moon, and yes I am very proud. Also for Michael Phelps wining 8 gold medals in the pool, then Jamaica winning gold in both men's and woman's 100m, which I was so lucky to see happen right in front of I sat in the Birdsnest Stadium.
But, today I will tell you a little about the OV (Olympic Village) which houses about 16,000 people, both athletes & working officials, the NOC Presidents & IOC members live in the 5 star Beijing Hotel right close to the city center.

OK, our building #A1, is part of what will be an apartment complex, all these units sold over a year ago.....

this is the view from my balcony, where I sit to write emails (I get Wi Fi from here) and enjoy the view.

Now lets take a look at my room, it has two beds, but I get it to myself, yes a very lucky guy,

this is my bathroom, quite a step up from my blue Refugee tent in Sichuan... and to my amazement the beds are nice and soft.

The last photo, is one of our security gates.

The village is incased in a 3 meter high fence, in fact two fences, one behind the other, about 2 meters apart, with a PLA guard every 40 meters, flood lit at night & supported by night & day vision cameras.... the safest place in town. On each gate, apart from the regular security listed below, we have several SWAT team guys, totting machine guns............

To get in, we must first pass a visual face & badge check, then they electronically scan our ID badges, then we go through airport style security, walk through doorframe type scanners, a separate one for anything you are carrying, then it's arm's out as we are wanded before we are free to enter.
Oh, I have a good story about security........ quite a number of the volunteer security, are PLA folk dressed as volunteers, no volunteers keeps there shoulders so far back, and is so unsmiling. Near the main dining hall, we have a crossing on the main East - West road that runs through the village, it is a dual carriage way, with a set of stop lights.

However, until it becomes an apartment complex, we only have electric buses that glide along at 10 kph, it's often faster to walk. And this main road is always 95% clear and empty. Well; we have a couple of these army guys dress as volunteers, and are trying so hard to get a very strong minded bunch of Olympians to not cross the road when the lights are red, but with a 100% empty road.......of course they are out of luck. .

I feel a bit sorry for them, as they are not use to people ignoring to their commands, they look so sad at no one listening to them... poor souls, they are just doing what they have been told.... " Welcome to a whole new world...."

OK, must dash, next time it will be night photo's of the Birdsnest & Water cube..

warm regards to you all.

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