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Is Beijing Ready?


logo of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing

With the opening of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing a week away, I thought I'd share some pictures of the landscaping that's been going on around China in preparation for visitors from all around the world. Some articles that I've read have called this "greenwashing" - an attempt to purify the image of wide-spread pollution that many have in mind when they think of China. In any case, the results are spectacular and impressive, and the Chinese have shown great ingenuity and creativity in many of the preparations.

Here's the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium...

2008 Olympic stadium

Now on to some of the gardens...

a tribute to the Greek origins

flowers highlighting several sporting events

a floral abacus

playful creatures

a butterfly

dolphin fountains

a hand with a waterfall

Chinese men talking

dragons

Whatever you want to say

At the end of our time of teaching two years ago, we went to Beijing for a long weekend before returning to the USA. You can read about it by going to http://blog.ivman.com/our-final-days-in-beijing At that time we seriously wondered if Beijing was going to be ready for the Olympics, and we weren't thinking about the landscaping! Those three days, we ate only in American chain restaurants - restaurants in which we seldom, if ever, eat here at home - McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut. Our reasons were not because we craved Western food; it was because we could not read Chinese and could not order without assistance in a Chinese restaurant where no one speaks English. What astounded us was that, even in the American restaurants, no workers could speak English! We pointed at pictures on a menu to place our orders! I'm eager to hear how things go this summer when thousands of tourists arrive, unable to speak or read Chinese.

The question is not only if Beijing is ready for the tourists, but also if the tourists are ready for Beijing. If they want some adventures, they could try some Chinese fast food sold by street vendors (not always the safest option available, from what we heard.) Too bad the food won't be labeled as it is in the pictures.

street vendors selling their wares

fried starfish

various bugs

dog brain soup

seafood and more

goat lungs and red peppers

dog livers and veggies

sea horses

sea snake

grilled snake and silkworms

We ate some interesting stuff in China, but I assure you we ate none of the above - and definitely not from sidewalk vendors! Are any of you game to try any of those delights?

quotation...

"God's small group discipleship program is the family." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Taste makes waist.


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11 Comments on “Is Beijing Ready?”

  1. #1 Zina
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 2:55 am

    The gardens and sculptures are awesome! My favorite is the one with the dolphins and the fountains!
    I heard that many athletes will be at a disadvantage in Beijing because of the bad air quality. Too bad…..maybe also because of the unappealing nutrition available there.

  2. #2 Sherry
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for the amazing pictures of the landscaping! WOW! However, your food pictures made my stomach churn. I thankfully NEVER ate anything like that nor was offered anything like that when I was in China. ICK. ICK. ICK.

    Enjoy your fleeting days of summer! 🙂

  3. #3 Carrie
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I’m not sure there would have been a good time of day to look at the food you showed, but it’s morning and I am still trying to repress my gag reflex after browsing the menu. The raw food items look so appealing and fresh, but after reading the labels, bleah! I am a very adventurous person when it comes to food, but. . .

    You know, Americans are at a great disadvantage as far as variety of food goes. We are so squeamish. I mean, think of how we could expand our menus if dog, horse, and beetles didn’t make us quake!

    The gardens are absolutely spectacular! I too caught my breath at the dolphins! Amazing.

  4. #4 Vikki
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 8:45 am

    My stomach isn’t impressed . . . but my eyes sure are with the gardens. I’ll add my bid to the dolphin fountain. What I want to know is how they keep the dirt in the vertical flower gardens and how do you keep them evenly watered with the top looking just as healthy as the bottom?

  5. #5 Michael
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I believe the Olympics in China can provide a lesson for us as believers. The Chinese are so consumed with putting on a good image for the rest of the world. This must mean that they believe something is wrong with their country. They’re trying to hide or cover up the evil that lies inside. They want everyone to think that they’re all right.

    However, we as believers often do the same thing. We put on a happy face, a good front when we are trying to cover up a sin problem that we’re having. Instead of facing the corruption in our hearts and doing something about it by the grace of God we try to ignore it and work hard to make sure others do as well. And, as with China, in the end the corruption will come out despite our best efforts. Praise the Lord that there is hope through Jesus Christ.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Zina, Sherry, Carrie, and Vikki, the gardens are indeed spectacular, especially the dolphins, but not surprising if you’ve been to China. They do some really amazing things with plants there.

    In the post I mentioned that we did not eat (as far as we knew) any of the items on display in the blog post, but we did sample or eat some really different stuff and saw some unbelievable things at the markets. If you want to see some of them, you can click on China in Tag Cloud or click on the monthly archives tab at the top and read the posts in July 2006 and July 2005.

    Michael, not at all to downplay your valid comments, my punster mind wondered if we, like the Chinese, could also be guilty of “putting on the dog.”

  7. #7 Lara
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I hate to say it, but this is the first time I will not watch the Olympics. Normally, I’m a fanatic about the opening and closing ceremonies, and I keep up with some of my favorite sports, but not this time. I can’t do it knowing that Beijing got the Olympics in spite of the ICOC knowing about the human rights abuses there.

  8. #8 Penny-Sue
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for posting these pictures. We live right here in Beijing and have watched first hand as Beijing has been transformed into an Olympic Venue! The Chinese people are so proud of what they have to offer the world and are hoping that the world will be impressed with China, too. We are seeing lives changed and hearts turning to our Father!
    I am hoping that people will not punish the athletes by NOT supporting the games, but will instead add China to the list of those whom they pray for fervently!

    If my people which are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2 Chron. 7:14

  9. #9 Rob
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Lara, I share your concerns. My interest in the Olympics is on behalf of individuals there that I have grown to love on a personal level, who are very excited that their country is able to host this event after years of being basically cut off from the rest of the world through no choice of their own. They absolutely love learning about what the rest of us are doing, and many are enjoying doing the same things now.

    When I think of these friends who can in no way change their government’s decisions and who are, in fact, profoundly affected by them in their own daily lives, I think of many Americans like me. There are many decisions made in Washington D.C. that I do not personally approve of and deplore, yet I personally can do nothing to change those decisions. My weapons are prayer and my one little vote – that is, on the few things we actually get to vote on.

    I’m personally not looking forward to the upcoming presidential election, not being ethusiastic at all about either candidate. It’s probably never been more clear than it is now that the hope of this world is not in men and political systems. Our hope is in the Lord. Believers have lived under all sorts of governments and have been blessed by the Lord, often not because of their government, but in spite of their government. We’re moving more and more into that latter category, I hate to say.

    Well, I’ve gone on longer than I intended. I do not condemn your decision and I share your concern for the people who are suffering. I will probably not follow the Olympics too closely myself, but my reason is mainly going to be time constraints and the fact that I actually much prefer the winter Olympics.

  10. #10 Michael
    on Aug 4th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Bravo, Rob, on your comments. I agree that there are many, many Chinese people who desire something better for their land. Perhaps the Olympics will be another step toward the toppling of the oppressive regime that is there. China has been opening itself more and more to the rest of the world in recent decades and that continued openness should have the same effect in China as it had in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

    Yet, how good the Father is to spread good news throughout China in spite of the government’s attempts to stop Him. Perhaps He will use the Olympics to further that activity in China as well.

    And, for us in the United States, it is so easy for us to trust in the safety, security, and freedom that we have. We have been blessed mightily and it has been in spite of those who have led us not because of who has led us. And, we also need to consider that material prosperity and military might do not necessarily equate with blessings from above. Many times getting what we want is not in our best interest.

    And, as for the Olympics themselves, I’m just not that interested this year. And, the host country really has little to do with that. I think since my wife and I have a small TV and no cable or dish that we won’t want to follow too many events. Besides, so many of the good events are on late that it’s not worth staying up to watch. And, the really fun events that I’d like to watch (like badminton, table tennis, team handball, etc.) are covered for a grand total of five minutes during the entire 17 days. I’m much more looking forward to the start of football season here in the U.S.

  11. #11 Rob
    on Aug 4th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks, Michael, for your perspective on the discussion. It is exciting to know that many people are hearing the Good News, even in places we would have been surprised about not many years ago. We who have freedom need to be using it to full advantage.

    You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!