I’ll never forget the women’s relay race where the US was in second place in the final 100 yards and then, with some unknown superhuman strength the US runner pulled past her opponent and barely made it across the finish, but did indeed come in first. The whole of the Bird’s Nest was in a frenzy and people were hugging and jumping around like madmen. A whole row of Jamaicans in front of us were on their feet as well. It was a truly universal moment, a single tear kind of moment.
Ana has long blonde hair and is a very attractive young lady. Several people in the stadium came up to her with their children or their husbands and took pictures with her. Though a shy girl, she could shine in front of the lens. After the games ended, we sang our anthem loudly, cheered all the drinkers in our area, and had our arms around each other as we marched out of the stadium and into the night. It was near 11pm. We saw a concession stand near the Water Cube and wanted to take a closer look at both. Mike bought beers while Ana and I danced around the cube singing our anthem. With beers in hand we decided to have our own mini photo shoot and see if we could get a shot of Ana and I in mid air, jumping in front of the Cube. Nearly a full 50 pictures later we had yet to get one with both of us in aviation. A group of Canadians watching the spectacle introduced themselves as a wandering trio. We had more beers, talked about Canada, had more beers, took more pictures and then all left together for Dale’s party.
The Canadians were travelling around the world together and had just come from the Trans-Siberian Railway, which they said was amazing and well worth putting up with Russia over. We boarded the subway, and then split into taxis and finally found Dale’s mansion in full party mode. Poker was being played, people were dancing, food was everywhere and beer flowed like water. I played a game of poker (all in on an A,7 to an A,2,4,5,2 flop) which I lost in a late round before heading off to find a nearby McDonald’d at 3am. When we returned with our tasty burgers the mansion was silent. The poker games were over and the music was off. We ate, chatted with the winner of the game and finally fell asleep around 5am.
The following morning we needed to find a way back to Shanghai. We visited the train station to discover the entire train was sold out—and all subsequent trains for three days. We stood in shock, who was fleeing Beijing before the closing ceremony that evening? Why was the train booked? Dismayed we took a quick subway up to the airport and watched the basketball gold medal match from the subway’s TV. What an amazing game! We finally found tickets on a plane back to Shanghai two hours later, though they may have been the last two seats out of the city for all the trouble we went through to get them. We grabbed a quick bite, talked about the amazing weekend, and boarded our plane home. After two hours of terrible turbulence we landed back in Shanghai, exhausted and all smiles. We’d never been happier for acting on a whim.
-posted by Lauren.