World Championships: Day Three
Beijing, China: Though I did not
want to miss the women's steeplechase heats (you know I'm kidding, right?), I
decided to join our friends Paul and Eric when they invited me to go to the Silk
Market with them. I was even able to convince Dave to come along.
Right from twelve o'clock: grilled tomatoes with herbs and sauteed
vegetables, veal sausage, potato patties, sun-dried tomato quiche,
watermelon and sauteed mushrooms.
The one meal we can be sure of eating each day is
breakfast. The buffet is served in the hotel dining room and is included
with our rent. The first day we went down for coffee, but realized after the
first day we may not find food again for hours. Now we take advantage of the
opportunity to get some grub. Other than dinner with Vin and Elizabeth the
night of our arrival and the daily breakfast buffet at the hotel, we had not
sat down to a proper meal since arriving.
Four of us piled into a taxi for the 30 minute drive to the
Silk Market downtown Beijing. This market is a multi-store shopping mall,
stuffed with teeny tourist shops and stalls vending all sorts of Chinese
crafts, pearls, jade, tailors, silk and cashmere scarves, toys, jewelry,
carvings, junk, dresses, silk purses, clothing, gifts, crap and porcelain.
Haggling is required. Prices are not that cheap and you may never know if
you were ripped-off or not, but I figure if I bought a large silk-or-silkish
cosmetic bag with two interior zip pockets for $8 and it was really only
valued at $4, did I really get ripped-off by $4, or did I buy a beautiful
cosmetics bag for only $8?
Buyer Beware... or Buyer Don't Care.
Typical shop selling accessories and gifts
You know I had to go in here, right?
My work is done here
Everyone found great gifts for their wife and kids at the Silk Market. The
market was filled today with tourists in Beijing for the track meet - we even
saw Mo Farah shopping.
Mo Farah and Paul at the Silk Market
Just as we were leaving the shops, we noticed a pizza
place, so decided to sit down for an actual meal, and were served a very decent
Our Uber ride back to the hotel was double the price we paid for the taxi
ride from the hotel. It was worth the extra $7 splurge (yes, $7 out
and $14 back; 4 people) because while the taxi was teeny, smoky and not air
conditioned, the Uber car was a luxurious new Buick SUV with leather seats, no
one had ever smoked in the vehicle, and the air conditioner was set to "arctic".
The Uber driver arrived 3 minutes after our request. Though he did not speak a
word of English, we had a business card from our hotel so didn't need to speak
to each other at all - except to give him gracious thanks for an enjoyable ride.
Next we went for a walk around the neighborhood to find a convenience store to
buy bottled water. We found a nice - and quite large - supermarket, and spent
about an hour cruising up and down the aisles exploring. (Sorry, but this is one
of our most favorite things to do when in a foreign country. Try it - you will
learn so much.)
I think the USA is the only country to refrigerate eggs
So much fresh fish - whole fish on ice, trimmed and wrapped fillets, and
even a lot of still-swimming varieties.
Great Wall wine anyone?
Just like America - the snack aisles were massive. Not interested in Cumin
Lamb Flavor potato chips? Lay's also sell Italian Red Meat Flavor, Fermented
Soy Bean Prawn Flavor and Mexican Tomato Chicken Flavor.
The fruits and vegetables were gorgeous and we saw nothing much out of the
ordinary, except massive peaches (grown in China) and gorgeous cherries
grown in Washington State. Most of the produce was pre-packaged and wrapped
in plastic (ala Trader Joe).
On the walk back to the hotel, we stumbled upon a Starbucks (which we later
realized is visible from our hotel room window) and had an iced mocha in
honor of Lenny.
I probably go to Starbucks once a year at home - but look at me in Beijing.
Our two drinks costs nearly as much as our Uber ride!
It was an adventurous and very fun morning with our friends - one I'm sure
we will all remember for quite some time. We found a few cute gifts, saw a bit
of the city, had an actual meal and found a nearby shop to buy drinks and
We were at the stadium in time to get a seat before the races
started. More great heats were in store tonight, with
five finals: men's pole vault and steeplechase and women's triple jump, 10000m
and 100m final.
Calvin, Eric and DT get ready to watch the races
It was a tough day for the three contending Peking Ducks this evening. Jasmine Todd and English Gardner did not advance in the
women's 100 and Sam Crouser did not advance in the javelin throw.
Neither Gardner or Todd advanced from their heats
Shelly-Ann Frasier-Pryce (with green & yellow for Jamaica, not the Ducks)
won the gold medal with a new stadium record.
It was an unpredictable evening. We really thought Evan
Jager could win the steeplechase. He finished sixth. Many basically
guaranteed Renaud Lavillenie would set a world record in the pole vault. He
finished third. We hoped our friend, Sally Kipyego, would win the 10000m.
Sally finished 5th.
Women's 10000 final
Nothing was going right, but the
organizers had girls playing the drums during the
10000m to jazz-up the crowd. Is it just me, but does it seem the girls are
wearing Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader costumes?
Until my next update, I remain, your shopped-out correspondent.
Ducks v The World: With
no Ducks in a final, the Peking Duck team did not
improve today and slipped down to 13th place overall.
But just wait. The USA is presently in the lead with 69 points. Kenya made a
huge surge tonight with so many points from the steeple (top 4!) and 10000m.
Official Placing Table
Something I found
interesting today: The price differences. Two iced coffees costing
nearly the same as a luxury car hire for four people? The
average worker in Beijing makes about $1000 per month.
Pedometer: 10,518 steps; 4.65 miles.
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