Chinese food … and here come the Americans
I must admit that I'm never too adventurous where food is concerned, and Chinese cuisine doesn't exactly get me excited. And before you knit your brow, I've long discovered that the typical fare served in our neck o' the woods as 'Chinese' food is anything but.
Twice I've been to China and I have yet to see 'mallah chicken' or 'sweet and sour chicken' on any menu, for instance. What a rip-off!
I arrived at breakfast on our first morning here this time around, having convinced myself that I needed to sample some of the local food on offer. I needed to immerse myself in the culture, experience the heralded Chinese gastronomy, eat like the emperors did.
Well, my autogenic pep talk quickly lost its effect as my eyes caught the first item on the line.
'Stir-fried cabbage with black fungus.'
That didn't sound too appealing. Judging from the many forks that were sent teeth first into the bowl, it seems to be a favourite among locals. Still, I couldn't muster the courage. Maybe I'll give it a try in a few days.
There was something quite off-putting about pizza-size egg pancakes as well.
But there were some really good surprises like the Chinese dumplings (baozi) with their delightful fillings, as well as the 'fried jiaozi', which in this case was crescent shaped and filled with spicy sauce.
I suppose you would guess that rice and noodles were never too far away, but perhaps to make the influx of Westerners feel right at home, there was some Sprite and cola to wash it all down - something we learnt is not always on the breakfast menu at our hotel.
On another note, the bulk of the Jamaican athletes checked into their Beijing hotel yesterday evening, and the most conspicuous of them all, Usain Bolt, created a stir as usual as he made his way through the lobby, before heading off to training.
relaxed and ready
We did have a little chat, with the sprinter seeming relaxed and ready to step on track. Should be an interesting few days ahead.
The Americans arrived shortly afterwards and it's certainly interesting that the previously blocked social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and even Google only became available - like magic - as soon as they arrived.
The Americans' arrival to their hotel was also preceded by a full security sweep of the property with vehicular restrictions said to be put in place around the hotel.