Aug 23, 2008

Holland House and USA House

Some of the countries involved in the Olympics, most notably Holland, the UK, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA, have set up Olympic Houses for special guests and sometimes for the public. The USA house is in Jasmine Restaurant. You're not getting in unless a VIP brings you or if your last name is Phelps. We couldn't even get into the attached souvenir shop. I guess you need a special invite from the US Olympic Committee. They were hosting the BMX and beach volleyball US teams there that night, so I guess they had to restrict access. I asked the bouncers if Michael Phelps showed up there, they said, yes, for about a half an hour a few days ago. (If you're curious what USA House looks like inside, check out this Flickr page.)

The Holland House, on the other hand, was very welcoming, and a nice place to get some snacks after work. They've got a souvenir shop and display area inside:

There was a health check area set up. You could ride a virtual bicycle race, use a BMI/body fat/blood pressure calculator, get your peak flow measured, and sit in some Sharper Image-type massage chairs.

They've got a list posted of some Dutch Olympians that came in to measure their peak flows and time to do a 1 km loop on the virtual bike race. They even had the four women from their gold medal winning 4x100 m free relay stop by. If you're curious, my peak flow was 121% of normal.


Inside there's a lot of places to buy beer, but it's pretty pricey, 30 RMB ($4.38) for a cup of Heineken. The food was priced more reasonably.

Sports viewing area outside. The Holland vs. China gold medal field hockey game was going on during this time, which Holland ended up winning.

Outside of the Agricultural Exhibition Center:


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