I specifically scheduled our visit to the Olympic Green at night. I figured we wouldn't really be able to fully appreciate the Bird's Nest Stadium and, more so, the Water Cube Stadium, under broad daylight. That's because at night, they light up the nest a bright red-orange and the cube a brilliant blue. I was right.
Like many attractions in Beijing, the Olympic Green is easily accessible via the Beijing Subway. It's the Olympic Green station on Line 8, the Olympic Branch Line. We were coming from the Temple of Heaven that evening, which was on the southern part of the capital, while Olympic Green was on the northern end. We effectively dissected the city via the subway, passing through 14 stations through three subway lines. That was a very long ride.
Exiting the Olympic Green station, the first structure you would see to your right is this tall steel tower, which changes color every minute or so. You would be looking at the Ling Long Pagoda, the top tier of which displays the five symbolic Olympic rings. These tiers, or more correctly, "pods," are actually occupied by local and international broadcast studios. That's cool.
We didn't stay that long on the park. We were quite tired and since it was dinner time, we were quite hungry, too. Fortunately, on our walk back to the subway, we saw some street food vendors, in front of whom I humiliated myself by having pointed to their food and saying the Chinese word for "toilet," when I really intended to say "how much?" I was only informed of my lost-in-translation moment later on by my friend. Maybe that's why everybody suddenly looked at me funny.
Also on our way back, we saw a few more structures of interest. Much more interesting though are the two men who seemed to be practicing Chinese calligraphy on the park grounds using these long paint brushes and oddly enough just water. We initially thought they were vandalizing these very polished park grounds using black paint, but no. They were using water.
One of the things I initially wanted to do in China was to visit a Chinese calligrapher's studio and see a master at work, maybe even purchase a piece. Being a fan of the written word, I have always held calligraphy in high regard. It is, I think, an expression of beauty both in substance and form. However, since we lacked the time, a visit to a calligrapher's studio had to be scrapped off. Seeing these two men writing these Chinese characters on the ground, even if in a matter of minutes I know these words will evaporate, it made me happy. Things fall into place even if you don't get a hand at it.
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