How do you say taxi in Chinese?

4 08 2008

Rough night of sleep. My bed is, well, firm. Imagine putting a sheet over your granite countertop. The room was an ice box. But that’s not my fault, the remote for the air conditioner is Chinese. Didn’t think I’d need an interpreter to use the A/C.

So, breakfast. From an American standpoint, it didn’t look like breakfast. An egg, with what might have been bacon and what they called “chicken sausage.” Looked more like raw hot dogs to me. Bread with no crust, because even the people of China knows white bread is better with no crusts. I am afraid they haven’t embraced the toaster like we Americans have. I tried it all, figuring worst case, there would be an incident that would require me to tap into the bag full of imodium that I brought. Better to figure that out while there’s no events going on. So far, so good. After checking in at the press center, buying internet access, (which is still blocking sites, like this one!) and trying to decipher the transportation guide, we grabbed lunch. Mills and I went Chinese. Noodles and some beef. Some condiments that didn’t look that appetizing, but tasted pretty good. Though, we thought it smart to not eat what appeared to be some sort of seasoned worms or grubs. Whatever it was, we passed. The food was quite good. Our colleagues, not as adventurous. They got McDonalds.

Apparently, tastes the same as it does in NJ. I hope to not find out.

Next, we went to the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square. That, according to our friends at the transportation desk required us to take Olympic Bus #2. We thought about taking a cab, but there are 5 of us, so we’d need two cabs. And we speak zero Chinese, so we went with the bus. Today, we learned how they fit all those people on the train …

It looked like a hike on the map, but it seems to take longer when you’re sandwiched between 2000 Chinese people. The driver was an angry woman.

Even though the bus was totally full, she’d try to sandwich another 20 people on. Then she’d yell at them for being in front of the yellow line. Seriously. Not taking the public buses ever again.

Tianamen was pretty awesome. It was just huge. Must have walked 10 miles. I totally brought too much crap, but since I had to shoot video, too, didn’t have much choice.

There’s just something about seeing the portrait of Mao on the front of the Tianamen Gate. This was clearly a special place. But after a while, I noticed people staring at us. It was clear they were wondering about the strange white people. We were posing for pictures with people all over the place. I think they thought Politi was Bruce Jenner. I think he even signed an autograph. A local Chinese TV station even interviewed him today. Tomorrow, we conquer the Great Wall.