Today was a very busy and tiring day but also very productive. With sight seeing as well as shooting some venue features I put in about 14 hours. After waking up around 8 a.m. I hung out in the third floor lobby (where the internet is) and worked on some images from the previous day as well as surfing the web to catch up on the latest news back in the states.
Being in a foreign country with a day difference makes things very odd, you are just beginning your day but back home the day is just ending so your good morning call to your friends and family is nearly their goodnight.
After taking care of some errands around the hotel complex it was off to the MPC (main press center) to receive my photo vest along with several media gifts graciously provided to us from sponsors such as Nikon, Lexar, and the Beijing Olympic Committee.
With 8 gigs of free flash cards along with a sweet Olympics backpack and a large Nikon backpack it was about time to go grab some lunch.
I had been messaging my buddy Kevin German and we had worked out an idea for him to meet us lunch at an Outback Steakhouse near the Forbidden City. Co-workers Chris Gooley, Jerry Lai and I hopped into a cab for the ride over there.
We get dropped off in the vicinity by the cab driver who didn’t know (or understand) what Outback was or where it was at. And quickly found an Olympic volunteer who pointed the direction to head but then immediately informed us it was closed during the Olympics! I immediately called Kevin to inform him but he had forgotten his phone at his hotel so we were screwed.
We walked a few blocks and stumbled across a Hooters restaurant but instead chose to look further for something else. Then we came across a nice place called “The Den.”
Along with having a wide variety of food choices from nearly every region they also had a friendly staff who spoke adequate English.
After a few drinks and my burger mush meal it was off to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square to shoot some city features to go along with our event and venue coverage.
The Forbidden City was a very cool example of Chinese architecture and culture and we spent about an hour wandering around the two spots. I would guess we saw only 10 percent of the sites there before we had to head out to go shoot some other stuff.
We honestly walked around for over an hour trying to find a taxi, I shouldn’t say find a taxi as much as I should say find one that wasn’t occupied. Our location was in downtown Beijing and it was right during rush hour so it was a daunting task as we dodged the thousands of bicyclists, buses cars and pedestrians in our quest for a ride.
Finally in a cab we headed back to the hotel to clean up. Several hours walking around in the 90 degree heat and humidity took its toll and we were all drenched in sweat.
Upon cleaning up and relaxing at the hotel we all lost our motivation to do anything beyond sitting there. But after a few hours I was recharged and ready to head out and shoot some more.
I took my first solo trip away from the crew and hopped a cab back to the MPC area and it was just after sunset so I took advantage of the nice lighting and ran all over shooting some exteriors of some venues.
After I finished shooting and found a cab it was back to the hotel to meet up with a few of the guys for a late night dinner.
We walked to a nearby bar and tavern merely wanting a drink and a quick meal and got neither! The server spoke broken English and as we were ordering he proceeded to inform us that they were out of nearly every food on the menu. My order ended up being fried shrimp and French fries.
About a half hour later the fries came, they were absolutely great and tasted exactly like McDonalds fries (to the point the three of us agreed the guy must have ran to the McDonalds a block away and bought them). We continued waiting another 20-30 minutes for the shrimp and were finally presented with our “fried shrimp” which was some weird foam looking potato chips that were evidently cooked in shrimp oil or something.
It was certainly not the good meal we were hoping for but oh well, it was still a magnificent day.
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