The work ends and fun begins

Beijing Olympic Park - Birdcage and Aquatics Arena

Beijing the work ends and fun begins...

Olympic Village building designed to look like a dragon is now an office complex.

Who says Beijing is smoggy? The rain cleansed the sky right before our arrival. It was clear blue skies, warm and dry with a nice pleasant breeze. I was so thankful for the cooler temperature after enduring the sultry humidity for the previous three days.  The city is so big it is hard to describe. It is 6,487 square miles with a population of 20.7 million people.  In comparison Los Angeles is 503 square miles and has a population of 3.8 million people.  To say the least, it is massively big and unbelievably crowded.

Most of the morning was spent touring buildings from a recent acquisition and visiting the main offices.  As we crossed town we were quite near the Olympic Village, so we took a detour and looked around. The Bird’s Nest is huge and looks quite different than television. It is quite an amazing feat of engineering and our teammate told us that it takes constant maintenance because of the structure of the exterior walls.  I believe it because it looks so delicate for such a large building.  The aquatic arena looked like a large cube that had bubbles protruding out of the sides.  It was very ice cold in appearance and such a fun structure.

 I continued to have many lessons in Chinese culture.  At the Olympic park, I was trying to buy a kite from a street vendor who continued to try to sell me string and other Items I did not want. At one point she put the ball of string in my hand and would not take it back.  From my last trip I thought “Boo” meant “NO” but I was informed that that it really means” No I don’t like the price” and apparently this just encouraged the vendor to continue to follow me and continue negotiating. I was then told to use the term “Boo Yao” meaning No, I don’t want the item. It was a pretty frustrating experience   I was followed for about 20 minutes and even as I was leaving the park the vendor continued to follow me.

 After our tour of the Olympic Village we finished our last meetings and summarized the trip. While my teammate took care of business, I had the tough task of arranging our touring agenda for the upcoming two and a half days.   I love these tough jobs and I am good at this kind of arranging.  The first order of fun was to have our young guide, Christina, take us to the “Silk Factory” for some speed shopping.  This is a six story building filled with anything and everything you can imagine, silk fabrics, jewelry and clothes. We had an hour and half.  It felt like 10 minutes.   We honestly did not have enough time. You can imagine three women and a man shopping madly for such a short time. Yee Sing joined us in this adventure and helped us translate and negotiate.

I have not said much about one of our traveling companion Yee Sing. He is from Singapore and works for the real estate organization and manages the mergers and acquisitions in Asia.  Now this guy is hilarious, says what he is thinking and keeps everyone in stitches.   I could write a book on his character alone but I will try to convey just a bit of the flavor of his personality.  We were sitting in a business meeting and he asked one of our potential vendors who their competitors were. In the typical Chinese way they gave a very long answer and never answered his question so he asked two more times. Finally he got fed up and said point blank, “Who is going to eat your lunch? “ It shocked everyone in the room.  He still got some vague answer but they did finally give him some names of competitors. All the HP folks were just shaking their heads trying not to laugh. Later that night over drinks, we all laughed out loud at his manner and we though he fit in pretty well with our American team.  

I was asking Yee Sing about his family and he was describing his troubles with his fifteen year old daughter. He was taking a parenting course on parenting called “scream free”.  He told me the guy who started it lives in Austin, Texas and he practices being “Scream FREE” Daily.  We spent three days with the charming man, who has studied all over the world. He is Chinese by heritage, schooled in France, and lives in Singapore. He speaks about five languages and had his PhD. I can assure you, no one messes with this guy and if they try he disarms them with straight forward talk and unbelievable wit and humor.

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Latest comments

09.05 | 12:43

Nina, so enjoyed your description/s of place and experience/s. It almost felt like I was right next to you throughout your journey! Thank you for sharing!

24.03 | 20:01

Great article, Nina. Now I wish I had gone there when I was in Bath. Hopefully, there will be another opportunity to go there someday....

18.03 | 18:48

I've been to Bath twice myself. And have gone to Sally Lunn's twice, too. Took my English cousins to Bath. It was their first time there and they loved it.

10.03 | 20:13

As a kid, I spent my summers in New York state. As an adult, I have had many recurring dreams about going there. I have gone back and the memories rekindle.

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