Oct 18, 2008

Black as my hat

During the National Day week vacation the first week of October, the Water Cube, Bird's Nest, and other Olympic venues were supposedly open to the many visitors in town. This information was all over the local news. There was even a light and musical show or something inside the Water Cube, of all places.

What the local news didn't mention, however, was that at all the venues, they done turned off all the fancy lights at night. Gone were the pretty blue lights outside the Water Cube, like they had during the actual Olympics. This is a picture I took the night when Usain Bolt break the 100 meter dash world record:

During the Chinese National Day vacation week, the Bird's Nest was also completely dark. When I brought my parents, visiting from out of town, to see the fabulous Bird's Nest and Water Cube through the spectacular Beijing nighttime smog, there was absolutely nothing to see.

The whole disappointing scene made me think of Stephen King passage from "Autopsy Room Four" which describes it exactly:
"...black in here, black as your hat, black as a woodchuck’s asshole, black as midnight in Persia, and what’s going on?"
The taxi driver that night told me that the Bird's Nest was black as my hat because they're trying to save electricity... I don't quite buy that excuse. I think they were trying to eliminate nighttime gawkers and tourists, but why? We may never figure it out.


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