Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Water Cube, Bird's Nest and Le Cool Ice Rink

We're right in the middle of Olympic fever, so here's an Olympics related post from Pipkin. He visited Beijing's Olympic Green, the home of the 2008 Summer Olympic games, to check out the Bird's Nest (officially the Beijing National Stadium) and the Water Cube (officially the Beijing National Aquatics Centre).

From a distance, the National Stadium's steel beams and gently curving exterior resemble a bird's nest. Up close, Pipkin still appreciates its good looks. This is where the opening and closing ceremonies took place, as well as track and field and football (soccer, for the Americans) events.

The Water Cube (technically a cuboid - a rectangular box) held all the swimming, diving, and synchronised swimming events. Since the end of the Olympic games, half of the Aquatic Centre has been repurposed as a water park with slides, a wave pool and a spa. Outside, a series of water fountains creates a fun place for people to splash and cool off.

Today the park is an entertainment and shopping complex with some varied sports and cultural events hosted at the Bird's Nest. A lot of vendors have set up shop on the Olympic Green, selling toys, games, and Olympic souvenirs. Olympic Green is a bit of a misnomer for the park, given there's little actual green space, and a whole lot of concrete.

Domo joined Pipkin at Le Cool Ice Rink, Beijing's only figure skating training arena, inside the China World Mall. Some visitors skated recreationally, but Pip and Domo also saw some figure skating students practicing with their coaches, and a young group of kids working with a hockey coach. Canada beware: these Chinese hockey players are learning to check at a very young age! Maybe the Canucks need to be more physical in their play at an earlier age...

For some reason the thought of Olympic athletes and watching all those skaters made Domo hungry. That's when the two discovered an ice cream shop in the mall called Cold Stone Creamery. You pick your ice cream flavour and mix-ins like chocolate, fruit, or candy, and they mix your personal flavour together right before your eyes! Drrrooooool...

Tasty, sweet, heaven!

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