Giant on the move
Al Himmer and Erik Kirschbaum blogged about their experience of crash-dieting during the Olympics, with most of the venues offering only cookies and bananas for reporters putting in 10 or 12 or 14 hours covering a sport.
Inside the Main Press Centre, there is plenty of food to be had. It’s not going to win any gourmet awards but the turkey on whole wheat is just fine and it’s hard to go wrong with a salad bar.
Sadly, it’s the Chinese food that is the real letdown.
Beijing is a city in which any given alley offers everything from noodle soups to savoury pancakes to fresh hot soy milk, and it is difficult to forgive Olympic caterers for reducing a culinary culture so rich and varied to a mushy blandness.
My mother back in the United States thinks I’m having a great time in Beijing. She envisions me casually dropping into see the swimming and the athletics, having a relaxed lunch, and then strolling over to the next venue to catch another big event in the evening. Let me give you a run through of one day I had near the start of the Games…
7:00 - Wake up too late for breakfast, rush through ablutions and run for bus. Clear airport-style security. Get on bus for 20-minute ride. Transfer to second bus for 40-minute ride to shooting venue.
For the vacuous, how about this, heard in the handball mixed zone at the Beijing Games: “Congratulations, Anita. Fantastic match. How did you feel in the last 10 minutes?”
Most blogs and reporter diaries from the Olympics start the same way. Your correspondent arrives in Beijing, jet-lagged but wide-eyed nonetheless, and waxes grateful about the helpful volunteers at the airport, the comfy shuttle bus to the media village and the smiling welcome from just about everyone, everywhere. And hey – even the smog isn’t as bad as everyone makes out.
Disillusion sets in a few days later, as they find access to athletes is incredibly hard to come by, you still can’t sleep properly and walking 400 metres in the city is enough to leave you with stinging eyes, a soaking shirt and an irritating cough. Damn that smog!
Food inflation may be a huge issue in the “real” world, but in the world of the Olympics, journalists got a welcome and tremendous reprieve on Thursday.
At the coffee bar inside the main press centre, the price of a double espresso tumbled from RMB 23 (almost $3.40) to RMB 12 ($1.76) overnight.