August 6, 2008


It feels like we've been here a long time, but it's been just two days. That means I have several weeks more to seek out the local cuisine.

Our hotel offers a buffet breakfast, and I think they are trying to appeal to all sorts of tastes. In addition to the usual Western fare of eggs and bacon, they have cold cuts and salads and assorted local items. Of course, I went for the local stuff. Yesterday I had pot sticker dumplings, and Chinese broccoli. Today, it was bao buns filled with chopped mushrooms, won ton soup (for breakfast? Paul asked) and a cold, marinated mushroom and chicken salad. There also was fried rice and lo mein, but I'm not such a big fan of lo mein.

Paul mentioned something about not eating chicken, because of the steroids (Early rumors were that the U.S. athletes would be brining in their own poultry because local chicken is loaded with steroids and nobody wanted to test positive). But I figure I'm not taking any drug tests, so no worries.

Last night, at about 7 p.m., a man walked through the the press room with a bullhorn announcing a cocktail party hosted by BOCOG, the Chinese organizing committee, in the lobby of the very swanky Hotel Intercontinental Beijing, which is attached to the press center. I talked Paul into going, just to check it out.

They had all sorts of hors d'oeuvres, and were serving fruit juice, wine and beer. There were servers everywhere, just like the volunteers, and they were eager to replenish a glass.

Somebody made a speech, but I don't know who it was (and someone at our standing table said, well, there's no free cocktail party). We heard someone ask one of the volunteers who was speaking; she had no idea, either.

Afterward, there was entertainment on the patio. Chinese acrobats and some Peking Opera (not very melifluous) and a kung fu demonstration. Nothing wrong with a little culture.

There aren't too many dining options, in terms of Chinese food, in the press center, and it looks like we'll be spending all the day here. So I'll take advantage of breakfast and maybe the bakery treats they put out in the afternoon. Eventually, we'll figure out how to actually go out, if we can stay awake.

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