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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008

BEIJING POSTCARD

Olympique agitations


BEIJING — I returned to the hotel at about 3:15 a.m. Monday following the United States-China men's basketball game, the mixed-zone chaos (hundreds of reporters jockeying for space to hear a few quick comments from the passing players of both teams), the postgame interview and a few minutes of eating a sandwich and typing up some notes.

The second leg of the journey was far from tranquil. One journalist, oblivious to the others on the bus who wanted a little peace and quiet, took turns whistling at a high pitch and singing at the back of the bus for 30 minutes or so.

I'm cranky this morning.

I didn't sleep well.

Three-and-a-half hours was not enough sleep, so maybe a hot cup of coffee will help raise my energy level.

I was amused by the new French word, "agitations," I learned today. I suppose one can get agitated in the high-stress work environment of the Olympics. It gave me a good laugh. This word, however, is used for a different purpose here. It is the French word for tea and coffee stirrers.

Official Olympic signs, by the way, are printed in English, French and Chinese.

And now it's time to sip the coffee.

In a persistent effort to remain alert and curious about my surroundings, I keep jotting down odd phrases and observations that I come across during my Olympic travels.

Monday morning's note-taking include the following:

I spotted this sign on the side of the road: "Fulfill the concept of Olympic and set up a harmonious community."

I also want to get a taste of what Ye Jun wrote about in China Daily's lead feature story in the Monday newspaper. "Duck fighting: Peking Duck is an icon of Chinese cuisine, rated alongside the must-dos in Beijing. Now the A-listers are lining up in battle to be the best in town."



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