I finally realize why family normally skips going to China over winter break. It’s just too cold! Beijing is colder than Boston in the winter, and with much less heating in public places (people in the US who think they are doing a ton to save energy by using revolving doors and taking the stairs have no idea what other countries accept as the norm. How about never even turning the heat on?). However, after watching Matt Lauer parade around Beijing all summer, we just couldn’t resist a trip to the Olympic Village tourist trap.

the bird's nest

the bird's nest

awkward guard, guarding... we didn't know what. the stadium was smaller than it looked on tv

awkward guard, guarding... we didn't know what. the stadium was smaller than it looked on tv

Water Cube

Water Cube

it was warm and toasty inside, so we lingered.

it was warm and toasty inside, so we lingered.

oh, phelps.

oh, phelps.

the sculptures in the surrounding village were some of the most beautiful parts

the sculptures in the surrounding village were some of the most beautiful parts

coming back for a nightview -- china has a minor obsession with lighting up buildings at night in funky colors

coming back for a nightview -- china has a minor obsession with lighting up buildings at night in funky colors

I think I was too cold to enjoy this when I took it. Save yourself and don't come to Beijing in the winter.

I think I was too cold to enjoy this when I took it. Save yourself and don't come to Beijing in the winter.

There were lots of street sellers milling around the courtyards, hawking outdated olympic memoribilia or offering to take “expert” pictures for tourists for 5 yuan.  Don’t they realize that everyone has their own digital cameras now?  It made me sad that they had to brave the elements every day to offer fairly redundant services like this.  Here’s to having warm, indoor jobs, no matter how mundane.

Up next? Summer Palace. Oh, the irony.

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