May Holiday: Visit to the Olympic Park

Relaxing on the bank and enjoying the view!

On May 1st of every year, Chinese are given a three-day break to celebrate Labor Day, and it is always strategically aligned on a weekend so workers have five consecutive days off.  Us lucky Tsinghua students (and I assume some other Chinese college students) have a full business week free, totaling to nine days of traveling and recovering from the grueling mid-term mark.

Instead of booking a flight or overnight train ticket to southern China, I decided to stay in Beijing for the week and visit places I wanted to see but “never had time.”  I’m now flipping through over 1200 photos just from the past seven days, and I still have two full days left!

One of the most peaceful trips of this week so far was to the Olympic Park (line 8 on the Olympic Green stop), which is best viewed at night.  I visited during the day two weeks ago for Wang Lee Hom’s tour, but the architecture and designs were overshadowed by the Beijing haze.  At night, the sky is as clear as it can be (for Beijing standards), and the National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) and the National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) are lit up so they are more visible.  The tourist rush dies down around 9pm, and by 10:30pm the grounds are almost bare, exposing the biggest piece of emptiness that I’ve yet to see in the city.

The Bird’s Nest is surrounded by the clean man-made Dragon Lake, but what we personally think looks like a seahorse.  This side of the park doesn’t seem to receive as much foot traffic, which is a shame because it’s more beautiful than the commercialized entrance grounds in front of the Bird’s Nest.

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