Living the Panda dream

25 09 2008
The adventure to live the Panda dream began after a free and fresh beverage from the airport’s VIP lounge. After boarding in the large Emirates plane Nicole Cremona (the other camper) and I had to decide how to spend all that time in the plane. Frankly games and movies were available and they had to be used! 

Many people say that blond people are intellectually challenged, but during some checker games Nicole proved that she does not lack her IQ since she beat me several times; but at least not in martial arts (my sport).

'Chinese' Warriors

'Chinese' Warriors

To learn more about Chinese traditions we were taken to Mei LanFang to see a Peking Opera which had a lot of combat including singing and dancing. The Kung Fu Panda dream was getting true.

The opportunity to learn a new instrument came when I got to know Shao Heng. The traditional Chinese instrument is called Guzheng, and according to her I learned faster than she did. Since many of my new friends are Chinese and they speak Chinese all the time, I decided to practise a language absorption technique to learn this “strange” language. It worked because I amazed the Chinese with excellent pronunciation. Arabic was on the list to learn too.

To welcome the Olympic torch in our camp, we were invited to wear our traditional cloths. This was an opportunity to take a lot of photos! After burning fire comes burning spirit in Beijing’s National Stadium also called the Bird’s Nest. From the steel bars which form the Nest to the last performance, it was very amazing. Considering the people in the nest and those who watched it on TV, the Olympic Logo One World, One Dream was fulfilled.

Watching the games was also on our programme. I had the opportunity to watch Artistic Gymnastics in the national indoor stadium, Basketball (USA vs China, where the Americans won) on TV; at least in China, athletics in the Nest (where a part of team No 3 got lost, including me) and Judo (when Marcon competed) in the USTB gymnasium; where I met Ge Yiwen and became good friends (her English name is Isabella).

Isabella and I

Isabella and I

 

Getting to know important persons might come useful, so I went on a quest in the name of science, to meet new people. I managed to make friends with three presenters: Yin Xin, Leo Derrick (who is also a beat boxer) and Isabella (she also sings, dances, acts…). I also had the opportunity to meet the prince of Chad. The mission to meet people from different countries was also accomplished.

On my birthday, we visited the Olympic Village; where the inspiration to start training for shooting came by. The Olympic spirit told me that I have to beat the current record of 190 points in the double trap set by Walton Eller from the US. While eating pizza in the village’s cafeteria I met the Polish coaches and physiotherapists.

)

Showing my ticket 🙂

 

For those campers whose birthday was from 2 till 18 August we had a “surprise” birthday party. I will remember it forever! For food we had an international cuisine which was good. But our last meals were Beijing Roasted Duck and McDonald’s.

I was invited to join a Chinese traditional play and happily accepted. We practised the play in our limited time (mostly at night) and performed it the day after. Since I was acting the part of the mayor’s son, I had to wear traditional clothes (not mine) and used a staff to show off my kung fu skills.

Me and Ge Yiwen

Me and Ge Yiwen

 

I spent most of my free time fooling around with my roommates: Pedro from El Salvador (Taekwondo), Ramon from Jamaica (Swimming), and Eric from Tajikistan (Wrestler). We were almost all fighters! I also watched National Treasure 2 – half in Chinese and a bit in English.

Me, Ramon, Eric and Pedro

Me, Ramon, Eric and Pedro

 

To protect nature for a better world, we planted a tree and made a promise with Pedro to meet again in five years time in front of our tree. We also climbed the Great Wall of China. While on the top of the Small wall, I learned an old Chinese saying: Bu Dao Chang Cheng Fei Hao Han, which means, you are not a hero if you do not climb the Great wall.

Pedro and I

Pedro and I

Me and Isabella

Bu Dao Chang Cheng Fei Hao Hen

 

I am going to miss all of my new friends, but we are still making contact by email and on Facebook. When going back to the airport I made friends with the guys from Dubai (Mohamed and Talal) and got offered free drink because of Nicole. I also had to temporarily “marry” Nicole since she was 5kg overweight from her luggage and divided the weight between us; because she was going to pay 2500 RMB for the extra 5kg.

Beijing have trains to travel through their airport!!

Beijing have trains to travel through their airport!!

Me, Grabiel and the Pilot in Cyprus

Me, Grabiel and the Pilot in Cyprus

 

Finally I would like to thank Marco Polo for discovering China and the MOC for sending us to China. Without them it would have been impossible.

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