Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Olympics are truly upon us.

How does one begin to describe the atmosphere around the Olympics opening ceremony last night? Since I am not much of a wordsmith I will settle for awesome. Though I was not at the Bird's Nest I can say with confidence that I will be very lucky to be part of something as exciting again in my life.

Like I said, I wasn't fortunate enough to be at the main event though some chap had offered me a ticket at an extortionist price I had fun prowling around and witnessing all the excitement. I hooked up with a fellow Kampalan and we watched the opening ceremony in various bars on TV and huge screens in my hood.

The most fun we had was sitting on a pavement in Di'anmen watching the event on a massive screen on a building across the street with our yanjing beer in the company of grannies, mummies, daddies and kiddies. People brought their folding chairs from home and settled down to be part of the event.

Me and my sidekick cheered and clapped when our kanzu and gomesi clad Ugandan team (all 12 of them came on the screen) and the guys around didn't disappoint by giving us vocal backup though I am sure few knew where Uganda was.

Some other craziness that ensued was when the Kobe Bryant's face came on. These NBA crazy guys let out a round of cheers that was only matched when another NBA star, and son of the soil, Yao Ming led the Chinese team into the stadium. From there on it was all Zhongguo, Zhongguo (which is China, China, in Mandarin).

The only fly in the otherwise fine ointment was that we were not allowed into an area called Houhai to watch the fireworks display (one of very many all over the city) up close by the authorities. But we managd to watch from a distance anyway.
video
One plus was that the public transport operated the whole night, which allowed an inebriated pair of Kampalans to extend the festive evening to Sanlitun across town without having to fork out for a cab.

Its a pity that I couldn't get my hand on tickets to any of the games venues but seeing as they are on every screen everywhere, I will follow well enough. I had a tentative offer for tickets to some baseball match, which I previously ignored because I know nothing about the game but now I am desparately searching for the guy who offered because I have to attend at least one olympic event.

I still can't believe I am here in the midst of all this due to a series of serendipitous decisions. This time last year if you had told me I would be in Beijing during the Olympics I would have told you to get yourself a new dealer because the current one was giving you some madness inducing narcotics.

Adios for now lets see how the next few weeks play themselves out.