the airport and super saturday

August 17th, 2008

Just got back from picking up Roubaozi at the airport. I decided I’d take the opportunity to check out the new airport train, so at some awful hour so early it should be illegal, I stumbled down to the street, got on the 801 and rode that round to Jinsong, off the bus and on to the subway Line 10 up to Sanyuan Qiao, then the airport train.

First impression was good. The interchange is one of those very well designed ones that involves only a very short walk. The screens had a countdown to the next train- I had ten minutes to wait. No extra security check getting from Line 10 to the airport line, although of course I had to swipe out of the Line 10, put enough money on my card, and swipe in to the airport line.

The train arrived before the countdown had finished. It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, but that’s ok. The seats looked nice and comfy, but full (my fault for getting on at Sanyuan Qiao instead of Dongzhimen). Got on the train, looked around, it’s all very swish, but standing-room only. That’s ok, it’s a pretty short trip out to the airport. Then we got moving.

At first it was all “wah!!” The train took off pretty fast and was speeding through the tunnel. We popped up above ground and had passed Siyuan Qiao much, much earlier than I would’ve expected. It was a pretty quick ride out to the airport, although once we were above ground we didn’t seem to be going very fast- a matter of perspective, of course. The train wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve expected, though. Nothing uncomfortable, just not quite so smooth. But that’s ok. The only thing I found irritating was the noise. The train makes a high-pitched whirring sound as it moves, which was not so comfortable. Still, a minor issue, really.

Overall it was pretty good- fast, efficient, comfortable.

So yesterday was Super Saturday when, if you believed the pundits (ugh, sports journalists) New Zealand was going to clean up the medals. Reality didn’t quite turn out as Hollywood spectacular as all that, but still, our athletes did pretty well. Five boats in the rowing and three got medals: Gold (but only just barely) for the Evers-Swindell twins in women’s double sculls, and bronze for Mahe Drysdale in men’s single sculls and Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater in men’s pairs. Then on the velodrome, silver for Hayden Roulston in men’s individual pursuit. And gold for Valerie Vili in the women’s shotput- now she was impressive. Not one shot did she put under 20 metres, while only one of her rivals managed to break 20.

But I think performance of the day was Drysdale’s: He got a really nasty stomach bug and only just scraped through the semi final in third place. He was supposed to be over the illness (but come on, this wasn’t just your regular, oh, ate something bad run for the toilet- he had vomitting and diarrhoea for days and vomitted again after his semi final), but had only two days to recover for the final, so I don’t believe he had any way to get back up to full fitness. To make it into the final is, I think, worthy of a gold in and of itself under those circumstances, and to manage to claim bronze is phenomenal.

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