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Beijing Day 3 - Olympic Park & Qianhai Lake

Empty Nest. The Legend of the Seeker of the Egg. The Toilet Index. The Call of Nature. The Sun Also Sets.

sunny 21 °C

Another day as bewdiful as yesterday with a few degrees cooler and more breezy. I must have got up the right side of the bed (even though I actually got out the left side of the bed). Dandy.

I wanted it to make today the modern Beijing theme day, and a day of leisurely pace after yesterday as there aren't a whole lot to see in the Olympic Park.

Since it's a bit of distance from Wangfujing where we stayed, we decided to check out the subway. The subway was crowded. It's more crowded than HK or Singapore, but it's better than Tokyo. The traffic congestion in Tokyo streets aren't bad at all, this is because everyone disappears underground. Yeah, Tokyo underground world is many times larger than Cu Chi Tunnels in the Ho-Chi-Minh Trails, and it's fully conditioned and spacious, catering for the battle of business by shop owners.

PRC should be congratulated for its unique design of the National Stadium or Bird's Nest by exposing the seemingly random steel structural trusses that resembles a bird's nest. Without this 'organic' element, most stadiums look like gigantic ashtrays. The Olympic Torch is just the lighter for that gargantuan cigarette. I call them Zeus' Ashtrays. Only Chinese could think of Bird's Nest design because bird's nest - or swallow nest to be exact - is Chinese delicacies for centuries. Ancient Chinese myth led them - the Chinese ladies - to believe that this bird's spit or saliva is the secret of beauty. Beauty or gross and disgusting? Speaking of swallow's spit and building materials, the swallows saliva hardened in the air and swallows used it to build their nest. On the other hand, to increase the strength of the mortar for the Great Wall of China, Chinese mixed in sticky rice. You think Chinese eat everything? What about building materials and animal saliva?

I had sampled quite a number of times of bird nest's soup when my mum made them for herself. It's quite a delicacy. Its tastes reminiscent of egg, which is hardly surprising as it's mostly protein. Given the price and the meticulous labour involving in removing the impurities from the bird's nest, it isn't something that would be eaten often.

After the talk of food, let's talk about the waste disposal.

"You can judge a society by the way it treats its prisoners" - Winston Churchill.
"You can judge an economy by the way it keeps its public toilets" - Yours Truly.

The economic progress in China in the last 3 decades were parallelled by its improvements in toilets. The fact that it still has horrible toilets in the rural areas simply reflects the wide economic disparity of the countrysides and the cities. The Olympic Stadium indicates wealth, but the public toilets indicates economic progress.

How could anyone talk about China without talking about their toilet experience especially in the past few decades? I'm certainly not suggesting that the toilets in the Beijing National Stadium are bad. The Stadium is PRC's showcase to the world, after all. And yet, they have no toilet papers. I don't mean it runs out. It has no toilet paper holders. BYO. Just keep an eye on the appearance of toilet papers in the Bird's Nest to mark the next stage of economic development. Wayne Wang made a film titled "Life Is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive (1989)". The setting of the movie is in HK, although Mainland China would have been more accurate.

The stadium was preparing for the CX-Open Games while we were there. They're international skateboard competitions.

All these thoughts of toilet bird's saliva and toilets made me hungry. We had lunch at the wallet-hurting Intercontinental Hotel. Well, it’s the only nearby place where we could get some grubs, and we were either got burned a hole in the wallet or burned a hole in the stomach by acid, we chose the former. "Excellent choice, Sir!" That's what the waiter in the Intercontinetal said. I thought so too.

After the late lunch and a chin-on-my-chest power snooze at its 5-star lounge, we had decided where to go next. After visiting the Bird’s Nest, it only makes logical sense to see the Bird’s Egg (aka NCPA). I can’t bear to see an empty Nest. I must go to seek out the Egg. Also, it keeps in line with today’s theme of the modern Beijing architecture. I can’t stand mixing travelling themes of old and new. I might want to get lost in a foreign city, but never in the confusion of architectural themes. Never, never, ever!

It was about 4:15pm when we hopped into a cab to head for the Bird’s Egg. With the heavy traffic, I had time for some after-lunch daydreaming(the most satisfying kind of daydreaming). I wondered if the Bird's Nest is big enough for the Bird's Egg. I couldn't do anything until I got back to my PC, and churn out some facts and figures. And this facts and figures is shown in the footer.

To read the rest of this article, go here...

Posted by FrancisQ 07:41 Archived in China Tagged buildings china beijing bird_nest birds_egg beijing_national_stadium national_centre_for_the_perform beijing_olympic_park birds_nest_soup

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