July 6, 2011 (Wed)
Forty-first day in China, ninth day in Beijng: 奥体中心 Olympic Green, 北京国家体育场 (鸟巢) Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest), 北京国家游泳中心 (水立方) Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
Still feeling sick, I slept until after 1pm and inquired at a pharmacy down the street, where I received medicine for a sore throat. I ate 过桥米线 guoqiao rice noodles, or “bridge-crossing noodles”, a Yunnan specialty that Haofan tells me gets its name from a story in which a woman carried noodles across a bridge to her husband each day. The noodles always grew cold. Hot soup is served. The noodles and many small ingredients like chicken, egg, carrot and tofu are added at the table. I took the subway to the Olympic Green. The streets are wide, straight and long. I entered the National Stadium, or the “Bird’s Nest”, used in the Olympics. Inside kids were riding Segways around the track. Most interesting was the exterior, which appears a random tangle of steel beams. In fact, the sides are identical. They surround the interior seating structure, painted red. Though events are rarely held in the stadium, tourists came in great numbers. On the Olmypic green sat a pruned hedge decorated with doves and the hammer & sickle over “90.” Tourists swarmed around the hedge, and behind stood the National Aquatics Center, or the “Water Cube.” It’s actually a cuboid, and half of the building has been turned into a cute water park. The walls are made of ultra thin material shaped like foam bubbles. Kids waded in the shallow trench beside the Cube.
On the subway I kept reading Sawaki’s descriptions of Hong Kong.
The hostel hosted a vegetarian dinner party, where I met several Chinese people, and a pair of guys from England who had just graduated high school.