Thursday, August 21, 2008

21 August 2008....

Today was no different from yday. Got up early, headed to the Coffee House for bfast and then left for the venue. I had to be here early today as it was out last day of events. I got in to the CAU Gym @ about 1030hrs, headed straight to the OVR room - had a lot of reports to sort out from yday's events. And then was working on the current day's events. Today among the competitions held were: 66kg, 74, 86, 92 and 120kgs of freestyle competition. Now, we're on the bronze medal match of the 120kgs competition. The night should end by approx. 2000hrs.

I was blessed to have met a lot of people today. Met friends from Poland, Russia, Armenia, HK and not forgetting all my China mates. Had a good session of meeting and greeting. We have taken down all our contacts - I do hope I can continue to keep in touch with all of them.

Some of the guys from AO in my hotel are planning to go out tonight. I have not been going out with them for the past 3 days as I was working out and I was working late as well - and of course I had to wake up early to work. But I am glad work is over for me after today. Thought of going to some interesting places soon.

Vicky and I have planned to visit the following places:-
(1) Beijing Zoo and Aquaria
(2) Olympic Games Domain Ground (Bird's Nest, Water Cube, etc) - tour

I was given tickets to go for the water polo match today @ 1700hrs, but it was pity I couldn't go cos' I was working. I have tickets for the Women's Basketball Bronze and Gold medal matches. That should be good - although I'd prefer to watch Men's Basketball Finals (an absolute cruncher, it would be) - but this is ok. The tickets are actually very expensive, so I can't complain. Hope to take a lot of pics @ the arena. Now, I have decided that it is getting very difficult to upload the pics from here, so I will be uploading all the pics when I return to Msia.

More updates tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

20th August 2008....

Today is my second last day of work. I have been busy for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Events almost everyday. But these last 3 days will be hectic. All the final events for freestyle will be completed by tomorrow. In fact all women competitions have been concluded - just the men's freestyle ones left. I am @ the venue now - was here since 10.30am. Got up @ 8.30am, had bfast and then took the subway to the CAU Gym. Upon getting here, sorted out all that I had to do and then the events were under way. We have stopped for lunch from 1200 to 1600. Competition will commence after that - we have D.Schwab (USA) vs S.Kumar (IND) as the first bout and then a few more before the Gold & Bronze medal matches. Today's bouts should be good.

Anyway, I should be able to get back by 8pm today - after dinner. Thought of heading to the gym again today. After that possible meet up with the guys for a night cap and then sleep early as well. I have an early day tomorrow. I have to be @ the venue by 1000.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beijing Re-Visited....

Yes I know I have not been updating my blog or uploading any pictures. I have been having some issues with that. But trust me I will be uploading em' soon. I have been really busy for the past 5 days. As you can see below the last update on the blog was on the 14th of Aug 2008. I have been really busy with work. Got in today and I told myself that I have to update and report of what has been going on here.

15th August 2008
I was off today and guess what, I got tickets to go and watch the semi finals tennis matches. Only woke up @ 2pm and then headed straight to the Olympic Greens Domain in the Games Village. The first match which was between James Blake v Fernando Gonzales started @ 4pm - that was a treat, then we (Vicky & I) watched the women's semi finals between Jelena Jankovic vs Dinara Safina & then the finale' - which was an absolute treat: Rafael Nadal (World No. 2) vs Novak Djokovic (World No.3). It ended @ about 12ish mn and then we headed back to the hotel for dinner and then for a few drinks. Got home and slept.

16th August 2008
Did not do much. Called in to my Manager and informed her that I was not coming in to work. Rested @ the hotel. Worked out for quite a bit in the gym - oh yes, that reminds me I need to go in to the gym today. Had dinner with the guys and then went out with Alex Kofi (Germany), Alexandre (France), Tanja (Serbia), Marianne (Germany), Bernard (Austria), Priyanka (India) and Marcos (Brazil). It was a very nice night as we were all from different parts of the world - and what can I say, alcohol unites everyone. It was a cool night as we were all telling each other how differently we all drink in our own countries. We had supper and got back by 3am.

17th August 2008
Took the day off to go out for a bit. Had lunch and the took the train and visited the Tian'men Square and the Forbidden City. Then went into WangFuJing Street for a while, bought some souvenirs there and then headed back to the Silk Street Market - to get some more stuff. Then, Derrick met us and we got back to the hotel. Did not plan to go anywhere, so I headed to the gym, worked out, had dinner and very much just chilled in my room watching the Olympic highlights. The guys wanted to go out for a drink, but I decided to rest as I had to be up early the next morning by 6.30am. I had made reservations to go to the Great Wall of China. The tour included a visit to the Great Wall, Ming Tomb, Jade Factory, Dr.Tea Tea Shop and finally a foot massage by the Tibetan Herbal Doctors - which was very good. Anyway, got back and rested

18th August 2008
I was up by 6.15am, showered, got ready and headed to the Coffee House for bfast. Met Lukas & Anna (Poland) who were supposed to come with me. After bfast, the van was waiting for us. Got in and headed straight to the Great Wall (Bandaling route). The thing is there are many routes to the Great Wall, but this is the most scenic and most challenging route. We headed there and then by 8am we started 'hiking' the wall. It was tough. It was 3.5 steps in normal steps to 1 step on the Great Wall - what an experience. On my way down the wall, I got to a Certificate Shop and got a cert done for me - A Hero Card ( a card to prove that I have scaled the Wall). Trust me, it was not easy - it was a very complete cardio workout.

A brief history of the Great Wall:-
1. It took the Chinese 273 years to finish the entire wall
2. The entire wall is about 6,000kms long
3. The reason for the wall was to protect China from Mongolia
4. Every Emperor in China was an engineer in the continued construction of the Wall

After spending about 2 hours there, we got down and then headed to the Jade Factory - a very interesting experience for me. I have never known the value of jade. I saw how they carved, polished and created beautiful pieces of jade jewellery. Then we headed to the Ming Tomb. The for lunch and then to the Dr.Tea Tea Shop and then for a nice Foot Massage by the Tibetan Herbal Practitioners. By the time we got back from all of that it was 5pm. Just had a light dinner and then rested in the room. I was working the next day and I had to be @ the venue early and the bouts were starting as early as 9am in the morning. So, just rested. Did I want to go into the gym, of course I wanted - could I take the tiredness? Hell no! So, I'd thought I'd pass gym and just chill out in the room.

19th August 2008
Got in to the CAU Gym by 11am. Got all the results verified. Women's competition was over, but the Men's freestyle had just started. Went through all the documents to ensure there were no issues. Everything was going according to plan - by God's grace. Went for lunch, headed back to the OVR Room (On-Venue Results) and now we're waiting for the next rounds of competition to start again. It should begin by 4pm. Will tell you all about it tomorrow - or if possible by tonight.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Do Divers Shower?

I have been watching a few sports in much detail. Some of which I really enjoy are: swimming, diving and athletics (15th Aug 2008). So till the 15th, the only sports I have been watching are swimming and diving. AND of course, the wrestling - I am working in the venue, remember. Do any of you'll know why do divers shower right after they finish a dive? In fact, they will only be able to see their results while in the shower. Have you ever wondered why?

The explanation below will explain it. The following excerpt is from Yahoo! Sports:-

After completing a dive, competitors swim to a ladder, climb out of the pool and head immediately to a bank of showers that sit adjacent to the diving boards. Then, in full view of the crowd and NBC cameras, they shower off. Divers keep their suits on, of course, usually appearing only to rinse off their hair and arms. Oftentimes, the divers will receive their scores while still showering off. What's the purpose of this?

Theories have ranged from 'to get the chlorine off' to 'they want to have fun' -- seriously, that last one is a direct quote from NBC's diving analyst, Cynthia Potter. Neither are the reason.

Divers shower in between each dive to keep their muscles warm after getting out of the pool. The temperature of the pool water and the air are usually different (the pool is usually around 80 degrees, with the air temperature between 68 and 72 degrees). This difference can cause muscle tightness. To combat this, divers warm up in either the showers or a hot tub.

So now we know!

13th August 2008....

Well, today was very much like yday. Got up early (7.30am) headed to the Coffee House for bfast and then left for the subways with Simon and Vicky. We walked to the Agri. Exhibition Ctr station and took the subway to our venues. In fact they were off today and they were going visiting. They got off half way but I stayed in the train. Got off at Zhichunlu and then changed to another train to Wudaokao. From Wudaokao, took a walk to the bus station and then got a bus to my venue. Arrived here @ the CAU Gym @ 10.30am. The event for the day only started @ 12 noon. So I had some time to check my mails and to go around the venue and meet the officials to ensure everything was running smoothly.

Had lunch @ the cafeteria and then got back to work @ 1pm. The event started and from then on it was continuous events all the way until 8pm. After the final event, Greco-Roman 70kgs, which was won by a Georgian who beat the local hero from China, I headed home. Took a bus to my stop, walked to the subways and I was back @ the hotel by 9.30pm.

I was not going to head to the gym today, so I had my bath and wanted to chill & watch tv in my room. But the guys (Vicky, Simon, Derrick & Priyanka) called me out for a drink and a light walk. So, we took a walk to Solana Mall and had a drink at Starbucks. Chilled there till about 12mn and then took a slow walk back to the hotel.

As soon as I got back, just had a bath and the next thing I knew, I was knocked out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

12th August 2008....

Today was the first day of the wrestling event. Woke up early headed to the Coffee House for bfast and then got to the venue by cab. I didn't want to be late. We were told whenever there were events, we had to be @ the venue 2 hours before it started. The usual setting up and ensuring nothing fails and so on. I had to meet the Venue Results Manager as well to confirm some minor details. My IDS Manager was also present, so we conducted all tests and everything went on fine.

All events went on very smoothly. Everyone now and then, whenever an interesting bout was going on in the Field of Play, I could just walk in to the arena and watch it. It was interesting. As I mentioned earlier, there are 2 types of events: Greco Roman (only Men) and Freestyle (Men & Women). Today we had completed 2 weight categories: GR 55kg and GR 60kg. Tomorrow we will be having the 66kg and 70kg. It should be more interesting when the freestyle event starts. It is more physical and a lot more tougher for the competitors. Anyway, had lunch at the venue itself and left the venue @ about 6.30 and headed back to the hotel. Took the subway back - I have got so familiarised with the subway that I am actually teaching people in my venue how to move around. I like learning new routes, so I was glad to have learnt all the ways to get from one place to another.

Upon arriving back to the hotel, I went to the receptionist and confirmed by booking for the Great Wall tour on the 18th. Vicky and I have decided to go to the Forbidden City and the Tia'Men Square on the 15th. Upon confirming it, I got changed and headed to the gym. Worked out for a good 1 hour and then had a bath and slept. I was supposed to have gone out for dinner, but I was too tired I guess.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

11th August 2008....

Well, I am off today. Today is the draw day at my venue - the wrestlers will come in for their medical check-up, doping exercise and the weigh in session. Upon doing so, they will be picking their draw for the competition. As there are not too many wrestlers, most of them got the 'bye' to the next round.

Anyway, since I am off, I decided to go around Sanlitun (Street Malls) and after that to the Silk Market. Had bfast @ the hotel and then left for Sanlitun with Simon (AO Msia), Priyanka (AO India) & Suzanne (AO Holland). We took a walk to Sanlitun, checked out the biggest adidas store and then walked around the malls. Upon doing so, we took a taxi to the Silk Market aread. Suzanne left as she had to go to work. So we arrived @ the Silk Market @ about 3pm, walked around, bought a lot of stuff and then stopped by Subway for a sandwich and a drink. We were waiting for Quiss and Vicky who wanted to come and join us as well. But, I was feeling tired so I headed back to the hotel. The guys continued shopping till about 7pm. Anyway, I got back and so did Priyanka - we met up for dinner with Alex (AO France). Oh yes, how can I forget, I found this Punjabi Restaurant in Beijing. So, I decided to take both Priyanka (she was very very pleased) and Alex to this restaurant. I made the discovery when I was just walking around town sometime last week. Very good food. Anyway, this time I had aloor prata, mutton vindaloo and some paneer curry thingy (very tasty). Had to have the kulfis for dessert and wash it all down with a cold mango lassi, YUMMY! It has been a while since I had good Indian food, so it was a very good dinner.

After dinner, we headed for a pub crawl. People these days call it pub hopping, but to me it was a crawl, because we stayed rather long in each club. The first one we went to was The Corona Bar. They have Corona parties every Sat - from what I heard they are really good. Should go for the one this weekend. This is a salsa club. Good live band playing salsa and latin music. Had a few beers there and then left for the China Doll Club. I have never seen a club so posh (not even in England or Sweden). Extremely nice decos and beautiful. Anyway, we found ourselves a place to sit and the ordered their cocktails. Very nice, I must say. On the other side, where the dance floor is, there were girls in extremely skimpy outfits dancing on raised platforms with a pole. Now, that was a sight.

We were there till it almost closed actually - almost 5am and then we headed back to the hotel. I had to wake up at 9am for bfast and then head to my venue as tomorrow is the first day of competition @ the wrestling arena (CAU Gymnasium).

So for all those watching the Olympics on tele, do look out for the arena. I will be in the Field of Play (the mat area) most of the time. From what I heard, the last event finishes @ 8pm tonight, so I guess by the time I get back it should be about 9pm. I will tell you'll more about it tomorrow once the event is over.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

10th August 2008....

Today was rather quiet. I woke up @ about 7ish and got ready and headed to the Coffee House in the hotel for bfast. I had to get to work by 10am. Upon having bfast, I was suprised to see a heavy downpour in Beijing. Nice. It has been terribly humid ever since I arrived here on the 3rd. The temperature has been an average 33 degrees. But today with the rain it was a manageable 28. Not too bad. I couldnt walk to the subway station because of the rain, so I took a cab to my venue - regretted doing that, it cost me whopping 50RMB (approx. RM25). Anyway, work was easy today. We were just testing all the systems to ensure that the production on the 12th is smooth flowing. Our first day of event is on the 12th. Tomorrow I will be off as it is weigh in and doping exercise day. The atheletes will be at the venue to weigh in, get their doping tests done and to pick their draws. The whole exercise starts at 9 and should be finished before lunch.

I'm back @ the hotel now. Got changed and visited the gym. I have been steadily working out as I have no other exercise besides the regular 20 mins walk to the subway station. Will be meeting up some guys and gals from Belgium and Holland for dinner later tonight.

Tomorrow I plan to re-visit the WangFuJing Street - where the street malls are. There is also a huge shop selling Olympic souvenirs. Hope to get some souvenirs there. Thought of also going to the Beijing Zoo before that and then possibly leave for WangFuJing @ lunch time. I have to see the pandas. From what I heard you can carry the baby pandas and take pics with them. Hope to do all of that tomorrow.

Will be updating it again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Opening Ceremony....

I'm sure most of you watched it last night. Yes, it was a sight indeed. The amount of work that was put in is amazing. I am glad to have been able to watch it live here in Beijing. As the tickets for the Opening Ceremony were all sold out and no tickets were assigned to anyone of us @ AO, we were able to watch it live from the Olympic Green Common Domain - which is just outside the Bird's Nest Stadium. It was still awesome. We could see everything that the people in the stadium were seeing, but only standing or sitting on the greens. It was much more fun as the domain area was a party zone. Everyone was eating, drinking, dancing and shouting and cheering their countries.

I was off for 2 days (Thurs & Fri), so I took the opportunity to walk around town. Went to a number of places. Solana Mall, ZhongGuanChun (IT Malls), WangFuChing (Street Bazaar) and of course the bars around every corner of Beijing as well. It was quite an experience. Initially I was alone, but later on Vicky came by and joined me at the Solana Mall.

Came in to the venue (CAU Gymnasium) today as we had some testing exercises to ensure that all systems were running smoothly. Our first day of competition is on the 12th of Aug 2008 and it runs till the 21st of Aug 2008. ZhaoXin (my Manager) has given me some days off whenever the draws are done at the venue. So I will be off on the 11th, 15th and the 18th of Aug 2008. So I will be taking the opportunity to possibly visit the Great Wall on one day, the Beijing Zoo on another and the Tian'Men Square and the Forbidden City on the last day. I really wanted to visit the Tian'Men Square and the Forbidden City yesterday, but it closed as everyone was to watch the Opening Ceremony.

Anyway, after the ceremony had ended we got ourselves to the nearest McDonalds and I had to have the Hamburger. It was good actually. Then, we took a train to the Agricultural Exhibition Centre which is our stop for our hotel. From the station it is a 15 mins walk to Yong-An Hotel (where we live). Upon reaching the hotel, I was hungry again, so I dragged Vicky along with me to the Busan Restaurant (Southern part of China) - very spicy food. We ordered fish and potatos and vegetables. It was good. Then, walked back to the hotel, had a warm shower and slept.

Today, I was working, so I got ready as early as 8am, had bfast and then left for the venue. I am still @ the venue. I will be going with ZhaoXin after work this evening for high tea - I am looking forward to it as we're going to a Tibetan restaurant. Will tell you all about it on my next post.

Till then, more tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Beijing 2008....

I've finally settled in here in Beijing. Yup, arrived here on the 3rd of Aug @ approx 5pm. Oh by the way, for those of you who didn't know, I am here in Beijing for the Olympics. I was chosen to be a member of the IT team with Atos Origin (my current employers) @ the Olympics. Atos Origin is the Worldwide IT Partner of the Games - and they have been so since Barcelona 1992. The flight was good, I slept throughout the flight actually - so it was nice. Upon arrival, we had a driver pick us up and send us to the hotel. I am staying @ the Yong-An Hotel in Beijing. It was nice to have walked around and checked out some of the places around the hotel area. I will be here at Beijing for 3 weeks and 4 days. I leave back to Malaysia on the 26th of Aug. It is a very unique and learning experience.

I am in training now in the CAG Gymnasium. I only got in at 2pm today as the Manager was covering the morning shift of things. Oh yes, before I forget, I am based at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium - what do you think the sport is? Nope, not gymnastics - but Wrestling. There will be 2 types of wrestling events, namely: Greco-Roman (only Men) and Freestyle (Men & Women). My position here is Venue IDS Manager Assistant, so I work very closely with the Manager - Zhao Xin, who is really sweet. She is very helpful and she has been guiding me with all that I need to know. I will be the Back-up Manager in the event she is unable to attend work. Work is fun, as it is sports oriented and it involves sporting terminologies. I am thoroughly enjoying my stay here in Beijing. I will be updating my blog, if possible on a daily basis. I would like to update some pictures as well.

That's all for now, more tomorrow. I will be into work @ 9am tomorrow. There is a lot to do tomorrow. The wrestling event only starts on the 12th, but before that there a lot of testings and other issues that we need to look at. It will be interesting and I will keep all of you updated.