Friday, August 15
As you sleep soundly in your beds I wake to a sunny day in Beijing and recall the events or rather non-events of yesterday. And what a day it was! An early phone call informed me if I quickly made my way to the Birds Nest Stadium I could ride in an off
As you sleep soundly in your beds I wake to a sunny day in Beijing and recall the events or rather 'non-events' of yesterday. And what a day it was!
An early phone call informed me if I quickly made my way to the Birds Nest Stadium I could ride in an official car to the Canoe Slalom event. So I did just that and arrived at the west entrance of the Stadium.
It was mayhem at the entrance to the 90,000-seat Stadium; coaches, taxis and buses were arriving constantly and there are so many security personnel here.
Thousands of people were making their way through this entrance all at once so I decided to take an apparently less busy entrance and was promptly stopped by two policemen who waved over an English speaking Chinese official to tell me it was in fact the exit.
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I was moved on and returned to the busy entrance where I joined my travelling companion, (our Nations and Regions East Chairman) under an ever-darkening sky. Dark clouds hovered, thunder rolled and the drops of rain began as we waited for the promised official car. At last it appeared and we got in, by now fully soaked through.
You honestly never want a journey like the hour-long journey we had in the official car. As the roads disappeared in rivers of rain our escort took it upon himself to immerse us in history, origins of names and everything remotely Chinese. It would have been really interesting but for the delivery being at world record 100m pace with no gaps for air.
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We finally arrived at the Canoe Slalom and it is fantastic. However, water, metal and lightning do not make for good companions so the events were cancelled and having spent 2 hours getting there, by now sodden, we made our way back to the car. Clearly our escort's earlier efforts in educating us had been excessive as he succumbed to sleep, which allowed me to work on the Blackberry for the journey.
We arrived somewhat bedraggled at the Ambassador's residence where we joined the East Region information stand. The place was packed with representatives from nearly 100 National Olympic Committees who visited our stand, spoke to me and took our literature about Hertfordshire's pre-Games training camps for London 2012. Seb Coe, Tessa Jowell, Jonathan Edwards, Darren Campbell, Steve Backley and many others were also there.
That evening I bumped into the massive, and I mean MASSIVE figure of rower Matthew Pinsett. I've only ever seen him on TV before but in the flesh I can understand how he got those gold medals.
Back to today and I have another visit to the Ambassador's residence to sell our tourism and business offer to the Chinese and then in the evening I go to the Olympic Stadium for the opening of the athletics.
Hertfordshire Manager for the 2012 Games