August 8, 2008


Eight is a lucky number in China, and as such the Chinese have decided to begin these Olympic Games on August 8, 2008, at 8 p.m. local time. A plethora of 8s.

I had read about the lucky 8s in advance and have a mobile phone number with two 8s. This is, apparently, a good thing. The guide book says that mobile numbers usually (I guess that means in non-Olympic times) are priced according to their desirability. What you really don't want is a 4.

We also noted in our hotel grouping, Courtyard No. 6, that the rooms all begin with 8 -- ours is 8606 -- but that there is not an 8604.

The most interesting thing about 8s that we saw today: When we arrived at the MPC (main press center) this morning there was a huge line at the post office. We finally divined that people (mostly Chinese, from the looks of it) wanted to send out cards and letters with the auspicious date postmarked on it. I passed by there a little while ago, about 3:30 p.m. local time, and there were people on the floor and on all the seats scrambling to fill out postcards. It seemed a little more than quirky.

But I suppose living in a country that routinely skips the 13th floor in hotels and office buildings, I'm not one to judge.

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