Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Day at the Olympics

Today was a disaster. It began simply enough by me skipping class at the last minute to go see basketball. But Emma and I rode the subway there with three other people from our program who were not as group-conscious as we were. To make a long story short, they ended up in a taxi on their way to the stadium and we ended up on the subway with one of their extra tickets (People had backed out, so the three of them had eight tickets total and Emma had two extra). On our way in, lots of Chinese were haggling for tickets, so we sold them Emma's two tickets and the extra one that she was carrying. Then we got through security and received a call from the people we were with. Apparently, they had also sold their extra tickets, but were counting on getting their other one back from us and had actually sold a ticket they didn't have a replacement for. Well, we were past security already and, not expecting to hear from them, had sold the other ticket.

They got mad, we got mad, and we stormed into basketball--which, contrary to one's guy's firm assertions when the tickets were bought--was actually women's basketball. There were lots of empty seats and we did see these people. I spent most of the game trying to calm down from the hectic morning and get into the spirit of horrible Olympic basketball.

But on to handball. Emma and I didn't have time to have lunch. Our taxi dropped us off at the wrong place. We walked half an hour and showed up halfway through the game.

But, every Swede in Beijing must have been at this match, because the handball game (which is actually more like lacrosse than it is ultimate frisbee) was very lively. Emma and I eventually managed to say that we were having fun.

These mild paragraphs lightly pass over what was possibly the most stressful day of my life. I have the feeling I've said that before, but like Michael Phelps' swimming, records can be broken. Forget taxi drivers being able to speak English: it'd be nice if they knew where the buildings were and were willing to drive you there. It's not like we just said, "Hi, please take us to go see handball." Emma and I had an Olympic map with the location labeled in Chinese, a dot where it was in relation to all the other streets, and even a picture so the driver would recognize it by the shape! And I won't even mention the fiasco trying to get a taxi to the women's basketball game.

When all else fails, or you're not enjoying the Russian women's basketball team play Belarus, you can always practice for the next big thing, Olympic napkin throwing:

(Package of napkins not actually visible)


Sheri said...

Perhaps having an aggravating day close to the end of your seven month trip to China is good- now you won't be able to over-romanticize the greatness of life there.
Or perhaps it was just a no good, very bad, awful day.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the rough spot, but it was not a disaster. A 7.0 earthquake is a disaster. This was an annoyance.

It was just a no good, very bad day...maybe you should go to Austratlia.

Mrs. Curti