Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Party's Over
Seven years after Beijing was awarded the Games, the 29th Olympiad is over.
The Chinese capital and the country can breathe a sigh of relief after a job well done.
The closing ceremony was a mish-mash of tacky to cool, from people spinning plates and jumping rope on unicycles, to a giant tower with people hanging from it and robot men flying through the air.
At one point there were several Chinese women singing about the moon. They all had those high-pitched voices and unfortunately wore cliche cheungsams that were hardly original.
And what about the Canto and Mando pop stars all uncoordinated as well in their outfits? Didn't they get a memo about the dress code? Oh well.
Most of the foreigners felt the highlight was watching Jimmy Page of Led Zepplin working the guitar and footballer David Beckham popping out of the red double decker bus as part of the handover to London for 2012.
And classical fans got to see tenor Placido Domingo with a big paunch.
It looked like the athletes had fun. Many mingled amongst themselves and the favourite was Yao Ming who everyone wanted to take a picture with. He really is a giant.
Sprinter Usain Bolt was supposed to be the Jamaican flagbearer but was switched at the last minute to Maurice Smith, a decathlon athlete who finished fifth and this is his last Games.
Speaking of Bolt, my friend Marc saw him at the Silk Market yesterday. He managed to wriggle his way through the crowd who were all excited to see the gold medallist. He told him not to buy anything for more than 200RMB. Wonder if he took his advice?
After the show, trying to get across white barricades was frustrating. For some reason security wouldn't open them up causing a flood of people trying to trickle through specific areas that were opened up.
Everyone was complaining about the barricades as we were all hot and tired from the festivities.
They were also busy taking their last photos on the Olympic Green on the last day of the Games. They were trying to capture the moment, the highs of China's success of putting on the Olympics, and they were a part of it.
One Chinese guy wandered through the crowd with a white T-shirt and got whoever he encountered to sign it. Wonder what he'll do with it afterwards.
And now the party's over.
One of the main reasons why I came to Beijing was to witness this momentous event. And after all the anticipation and anxiety, from the pollution, the Tibet riots, the torch relay and the Sichuan earthquake, China has pulled through.
Yes, the Games cost the country alot. Was it money well spent?
We'll have to see.