In Which TheMightyMcClaw is Going to the Olympics
What, today, didst arrive at my humble Shanghai apartment?
Why, 'twas an envelope what had journeyed round the world to reach my abode.
And what, pray tell, was held therein?
Nought but two shining, golden, gleaming tickets for the 2008 Olympics.
Judo, that is.
My brother, ever the magician of spectacular experiences, had a friend stationed in the US Army in Korea who had planned to fly over for a few days, and catch some of the Olympic games. But, to his chagrin, North Korea's ever-unpredictable antics raised the security status for his station, binding him to South Korean soil, and leaving the tickets worthless in his own hands.
Thus he contacted friends and relatives, selling off the tickets which he himself could not use.
Two of these tickets fell into the hands of a certain young Manhattan lawyer, who just so happened to have a younger brother he new adored the sport of Judo, and moreover, would be residing in China at the time of the games. With sharp foresight, he snatched up the tickets, and had them mailed to said young grappling afficiando as fast as the avenues of postage would allow.
That younger brother, is, of course, myself. And though I had been long anticipated their coming, growing ever more fearful that they would only arrive past the moment of their use, they finally appeared on my floor this morning when I returned from teaching my daily tutoring session.
Seeing the tickets, confirming their realness, I took what money I had and dashed to the Shanghai railway station. Fearful that I might've been too late - for too catch the event, I must take an overnight train ride on the marrow's eve - i trembled with doubt at the thought my tickets might have yet arrived too late, in my hands, but unable to reach the city of their redemption.
But oh, what lucky gods smiled upon me this day! Seats were there still to be hand! A true and proper sleeper car, at that! I had once journeyed to Beijing on very short notice, and all that remained was standing room. While standing for half on hour taking the subway from one side of the city to the other poses little problem, standing for twelve hours through the night whilst journeying between metropols is another matter altogether. Having endured this Samsara once, I wish to never repeat it again.
And so, fellow grapplers, lay your envy upon me! For come Friday night, I shall be among the attendants of Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium, watching the most savage and fearsome judoka of the world plie their art against one another!
awesome. great story, the more i read the more it felt like i was in your place. enjoy the event.
Bully for you oh MightyMcClaw!!!!
PS - Can you breath the air in Bejing or are you holding your breath until your return to Shanghai?
Props/Grats. That would be sweet. Can you take pics?
Be wary of the locals in Beijing... we wouldn't want you getting shanghaied.
Yes seconding pics or you know......it didn't happen.
There are no pics, because it didn't happen.
I went to Beijing alright, lickity split, smooth sailing, no problems.
But I did not watch the Olympics.
And do you know why, dear readers? What obstacle presented it before myself, so as that I could not achieve this simple of task of redeeming my tickets for a night of Judo?
When the fated hour arrived, no taxi in Beijing would stop to pick me up. For over half an hour I wandered the streets, desperately hailing at every cab which crossed by path. But, of all those devoid of passengers, not one would stop to allow to me enter.
At one point, I caught an empty cab which had stopped at a red light, and made to enter the vehicle. The driver waved me off, telling to me get out. Less than a minute later, he allowed a Chinese woman to enter and drove off.
As time grew late, in my desperation, I instead rented a bicycle and purchased a city map, meaning to transport myself if no car in the city would offer this service.
However, this too was destined for failure. The distance was far greater than I had estimated, and the map was unclear. What's more, it seems that the pedestrians of China would rather give wrong directions than say "I don't know" when confronted with a lost traveler.
And, in time, I did arrive at the stadium wherein the Judo matches were being held.
But I arrived too late. Though my legs pumped with all the fury they could muster, they were unable to bear me across the city quickly enough. My tickets were for six o'clock - 'twas nearly eight o'clock when I arrived.
The matches were over. Finished, done with, never to be seen again. Despite the pleading of Olympic volunteers, trying vainly to reconcile a poor wander who's hopes had been dashed upon the pavement of their city streets, the security staff would not even allow me entrance to the now-vacated stadium, so as that I might gaze what could've been but was not. No, they had already done their fill of security checks, and could not be bothered to look through one more bag, read one more ticket to assure it's authenticity. To do so would be a trouble far beyond their means.
My time in China has been, by and large, not at all enjoyable. What was to be the highlight of an already sour trip, the one redeeming moment for a hateful journey abroad, became it's most bitter and sorrowful disappointment. My dark clouds silver lining has become it's blackest stratum. I spent over a thousand renminbi to witness this one event, and it was all for naught.
I'm looking forward to getting back to the States.
That really sucks.
This is why I hate travelling to China.
Not the beautiful, outlying areas, but the URBAN CROWDED NOISY AND POLLUTED armpits of the world.
Get out of the cities and the people are wonderful.
Come home oh MightyClaw and remember that this is the best place on earth.
Mighty claw, I was there at the judo match for you. It twas awesome. Made even more awesome by the fact I know nothing about judo, but I did get to see some mongolian dude kick the ass of some japanese dude who later looked like he wanted to commit hari kiri.
But yea, I experienced the same problem in beijing. Judgements of time are COMPLETELY off. You should always allot one HOUR more than how long you think it takes to reach anywhere.