Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing – Day 3 continued

Back from football. USA v. Japan, Women's semi-finals and ...
USA WINS! 4 to 2.

The Workers Stadium is huge. It hold 60,000 and I believe it was full to near capacity. We had meant to pick up something to eat before heading in, but by the time we reached the arena, it was 7:30 and the match started at 9:00 pm. While the security and ticket takers have been amazingly efficient so far, we had concerns so we skipped dinner and decided to have arena food (hoping they'd have different arena food) instead. That was a mistake. Not only was it the same arena food, but they didn't have anything available that was substantial. I don't think bread, popcorn and a Snickers bar constitutes a well rounded meal. The other bummer was that they were pouring all the drinks into cup without lid. Apparently, they had concerns that we'd all throw our plastic bottles at each other and on the field.

We had relatively good seats. 3 rows up behind the USA bench. The shelters for the teams were blocking part of our view of the opposite end of the field, but they were showing the game up on big screens at either end, so we just watched up there when we were blocked.

It was looking pretty grim at the beginning. Japan drew first blood and USA just wasn't getting past their defense. I don't know if you all are aware of this, but every time I leave my seat during a Storm game, the Storm go on a run. Sometimes a little run, sometimes a big run. Apparently, this works in soccer too. USA was down 1-0 and I decided to go to the bathroom with a few minutes left in the half. Before I made it up to the stairs, USA scored. With 5 minutes, they scored again. Our seatmates were prepared to send me back to the bathroom if Japan scored and tied up the game. Fortunately, USA scored again twice in rapid succession in the second half. During the extra 3 minutes (for stoppage), Japan scored one more time, but it wasn't enough.

USA vs Japan Women's Football semifinal — 4

After the game, Scott and I tried to walk about the Stadium to a McDonalds, but miscalculated the distance and got turned around. We ended up catching a cab back to the hotel instead. We had fun riding the subways, but have learned that it's a minimum of an hour to get to anywhere and you can ride in a taxi for about $5.00 US clear across town. When we are in a hurry or it's late, it just makes more sense to take a taxi. None of the drivers speak English, so we try to have someone at the hotel write out the name of our destinations for the day before we leave and of course we always take something with the name and address of the hotel with us.

A couple of additional notes. We were surrounded by Americans again. A couple from San Francisco doing their 6th Olympics, a couple from Chicago, and a family from Sammamish. Scott had someone take a picture of all of us and I'm sure he'll post it soon. The couple from San Francisco had plenty of good insights on how to afford going to the Olympics without it costing so much. Ann and Mack, we need to talk. There were several large American flags and we ended up on the big screen more than once. That seems to be becoming a trend.

The bathroom was not fun. There were western style toilets, but they were icky and muddy for some reason. There was no toilet paper (for which I was prepared), but there also were no towels for drying your hands and there weren't even the hand blowers. I don't think they thought that one through!

It is also interesting to note that the crowd at the Stadium definitely seemed to be favoring USA. While they would cheer regardless of who scored, they continually started chants of USA and there was some booing of the Japanese team in spots. We also had several Chinese people come up and want their pictures taken with us, even more so when the other Americans showed up with the flags. They seem to love having their pictures taken with foreigners.

Lastly, we say a building marked Beijing Lawyers Association. I mention this because the acronym would be BLA and I think that's funny.

Tomorrow we have diving and more basketball.


norwester said...

Was it the seats on the toilets that were muddy? I've heard that that's because the nations that don't use western-style toilets get confused, and the people get up and stand on the toilet seat, since they're used to toilets that are flush with the floor.

Another night of arena food! :P

Sounds like you are having a great time. Thanks for the blogs so the rest of us can live through you vicariously!

Angie said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure someone had been standing on the toilet seat and I had expected as much.