Touchdown in Beijing

Writing my second entry on the Olympic Games feels far more natural. That's because the party has started, and we're now all physically part of IT. Saturday 2nd July 2008 I went off at a good start, joined my collegues Rik Van Hespen, Frederic Coppens, Shijun Zhang and her daughter Zang Li (Lili) Pollet at Brussels International Airport, after Shanshan dropped me at the Kiss & Ride and (accidently) queuing at the VRT check-in near Lieven van Gils from Sporza. On board we were accompanied during our intercontinental crossing by the Heineken Team and the Belgian ladies Beach Volley.

We arrived at 5 o'clock in the morning in a very supernaturally green and relatively quiet Beijing. At Yong An hotel we were welcomed by Catherine - the shepherd of the Atos Origin Volunteer - but first I had a lot of explaining to do to a whole crew of police, hotel and security staff when screened at the entrance of the hotel. Obviously they didn't really appreciate Shanshan + my set of quality German cooking knives as a gift, but after quite some negotiation - helped by an young but bit nervous Chinese volunteer - I was able to hand over all the presents to Emily in the evening - handed over outside the compound - while we laughed detailing the chaos I caused, drinking some very nice Hangzhou tea in a tea house nearby the hotel. Actually our entire Sunday was jampacked with activity, but I currently am very short in time, so later I will certainly elaborate on yesterday's events.

To summarize we went to face the impressive olympic venue for the first time, activate our accreditation - while everyone got lost - and said hello to Tiananmen, which blew Fred & Frederique - who saw this for the first time in their lives - from their socks.

Chinese Lessons for today:

  • Dong yi ge shijie, Dong ye ge meng xian = One World One Dream
  • Atos Origin is known here as Yuan Xun Gong Si


Frederique, Shijun and Lili at the airport


Cosmic surgery nearby the hotel ... we are saved !!!


10 volunteers for 1 Shijun in need


The birdnest as we always imagined


Saying hello to the Forbidden City


Happy Emily showing her rescued cooking knives