Sunday, August 24, 2008


The self proclaimed, most important event in Chinese history concluded today, & we were THERE!
Zach's buddy from High School (although a River Rat - Huron) Jon made the trip from San Diego (sorry, I don't know how to spell Encindintas). He showed up only a couple of days after we arrived from our 3.5 weeks in the States. This was going to be a marathon...
First up on the docket... BOXING!
Surprisingly, the loudest and most aggressive fans, were the Kazzies! Kazakhstani's were well represented! It was hard not to root for them! So we joined in with "GREAT SUC-CESS!" A google map looksee showed me that Kazakhstan shares a HUGE boarder with China. Who knew!?
Another welcome surprise was the cost of beers. 3 RMB per beer, or $0.44/beer!
Next was a trip to The Temple of Heaven. Admittedly, we have never been in our 13+ months of living here. Jon's aggressive schedule forced us to some sites we previously had not visited. Honestly, it was a nice push into our Beijing schedules after 2 weeks of vacation. Between work, baby duties, Olympics, & Jon's agenda, we squeezed the most out of every day.
One of the most hottest tickets in Beijing was the USA Men's Basketball. We didn't score any tickets during the numerous lotteries, so Jon and I headed down to the stadium Tuesday night in hopes of scalping tickets.
The market rate was 4,000 RMB ($588) for TWO TICKETS! It was only a qualifying round! So, at tip off, we were about to throw in the towel, when I saw a couple get out of a taxi in front of the gate. I asked if they had any extras, they didn't respond like most people I spoke to for the past hour. We were hoping that some of the scalpers would come down in price since the match started, but it seemed as though they would rather eat the ticket before getting their price! Just as I turned to Jon and shrugged in concession, I hear the husband from the taxi say, "hey, here you go" in a Carribean accent and he handed me two tickets. I was dumbfounded. I asked him if he was sure, and he kept waving me off. I can only guess that he didn't want to risk selling them and was in a rush into the game, so he just wanted to give them to a couple nice die hard USA hoops fans! Olympic spirit at it's best!
We got to see the Redeem Team CREAM Germany. Thank GOODNESS we didn't waste our money on a blowout. Unbelievably, the stadium wasn't 80% full. There was an entire section in the lower bowl vacant, and the seats outside were selling for $250+ a piece (face price $20).
Nadia then took Jon to the Great Wall. I couldn't handle going there again for the 3rd time in 3 months. It also gave me the opportunity to get some work done while our Ayi watched Augie.
Next up was Boxing again. And AGAIN, the Kazzie's we're well represented. Only to be rivaled by the Irish. "YOU CAN-NOT BEAT THE IR-ISH" still reverberates in my skull.
However, we still found ourselves backing the Kazzies! "KAZ-ZAK-STAN! KAZ-ZAK-STAN!KAZ-ZAK-STAN!"
We then hopped a pedicab to San-Li-Tun for a couple post match toties before calling it a night.
Next up, baseball...It's a crap shoot when you buy the tickets, you don't know the match-ups. We saw the Netherlands's get MERCIED against the Koreans (gold medal winners).

Next, THE BIRD NEST (AKA National Stadium) for Athletics. We were able to see the first day of the decathlon including eventual winner Bryan Clay! It was a little soggy, but we were under the overhang. Below are a couple of night shots too. Beijing's 7-star hotel, the Putong Plaza, one of two in the WORLD.

Of course no trip to Beijing is complete without sampling Peking (Beijing) Duck. Then we crammed a trip to the Forbidden City and a tour of a Hutong (old school historic protected neighborhood) to see how life was in China before their industrialization.
I am intentionally sparing a lot of details due to anticipated visitors. This will be part of their Beijing tour. I am happy to answer any questions, just drop it in the comments!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pictography of Augie in the States

Updated... this should now work. Just click on "slideshow" once you access Flickr.

Click the link to see a slide show of Augustine's first trip back to the US to meet most of his family for the first time (Grammie came out for a visit the week after he was born).

Will follow up shortly with more regarding the Olympics and our trip.

Much Love,
Rahaim Family