Final Rehearsal on D-day minus 2

Bits of underground 8 into the Olympic Park from line 10 are undergoing final preparations, so going to work is not yet as convenient as it will be during the Games. Actually I was off duty today (advance recuperation for a series of long day/night shifts coming), so I just made acquaintance with my Duty Manager, printed all procedures to read and made sure I could gain access to all systems to do my work.

Then I set off for a walk in the still empty Olympic Parc, where the areas around the NST (National Stadium) were the center of the final rehearsal later that day. On one hand there were the military, policy, fire brigade, security and emergency crews, who were dead serious about their work, and on the other lots of young extra's with a role in the ceremony, each of them appearing to have the time of their life (like me actually). The playful shouting through megaphones and endless giggling stood in sharp contrast with the explosion of discipline later in the evening. The giant peacock feathers and hundreds of drums - through which I was zig-zagging - are promising nothing less than the ultimate spectacle.

Facing the idillic lake with floating lotus flowers and reed forest shifting in the wind, I layed myself to rest, down in the shadow, as temperatures were mounting far above temperatures acceptable in Belgium. The gentle current of air was also causing the imperial clockworks a bit further down the Sunken Village to spread soft metallic sounds and an old farmer spraying the young bamboo bushes behind me was murmuring a folksong, as dragonflies were trying to get ahead of each other, flying above my face.

After a couple of hours suddenly music burst out of "the China Story", so I was abruptly reminded that these surroundings were going to become the focus of the world's attention. After doing 2 complete tours of the entire Olympic Parc - second one with my collegue Rik, who finished his job at the NAC (National Acquatic Center) after I made my first tour - we decided to stay watching the crowds and catching a glimp of the ceremony from outside. The exclusively local Chinese spectators - who got their ticket by price draw - were dressed to kill, and obviously all very proud. Afterwards Fred - another Belgian collegue who managed to get a ticket from Caroline/HR - reported that it was an incredible show, so we can only recommend everyone to watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

Relaxing in the shadow for a couple of hours + Still peace & quiet, unlike days to come

Billboard crew / Entrance to the underground !!!

Have to ask Shanshan why 3 near-bare-breasted girls + old guy are galloping around an oversized pearl? / Greek inspiration

Clockworks in Sunken Village + Kids ready to play their role in the ceremony

Old & new / Axis pointing exactly to rear-entrance of Forbidden City 10 kilometers South

Power generation park / German athlete's rides (Mercedes naturally)

Olympic Village (restricted area) with prominent display of Italian flag

Canine brigade in action / PLA taking positions

Weird guy in front of fantastic stadium / countless rows of drums ready to play their part

Each of these girls were at least 1 meter 80, quite an unusual height for Chinese women / Watercube changing red to blue (next to DHQ)

Think I know this vehicle from the small YouTube Korean sneak preview / NST (National Stadium) red hot for final rehearsal

One of the extremely beautiful extra's (once she finished her turn in the ceremony). Got all shaky with excitement, thus partly ruining the picture. Rik - my colleague - had a sharp shot.

NBC fishbowl / The fire brigade everywhere was top neat & disciplined. Here one of their mobile HQs.