I made it China! They somehow quickly forgave me for arriving in Mongolia with a car and leaving without one - "Your car really broke down?" and a "Yes, it really did" later I was free of that snag - and we stepped off the train in a foreign land, I somehow raised in status immediately by speaking some of the local tongue and led our group of Beijing seeking foreigners around from train station to bus station. Our ride was decently comfortable - bunk beds!; a little surreal - we drove by a dinosaur sculptures in the middle of nowhere?; and slow - five to eight police checkpoints that each checked our passports and two of which had to go through our bags.
The volleyball court was very pretty, though half the crowd left after China won, not sticking around to see Brazil versus Finland. The bikini toting cheerleaders did some funny dances, especially to the 90's mix of pop rock songs (Reel Big Fish?), inviting us to bring back the monkey and a few other simpler dances - China didn't allow cheerleaders til 8 years ago, and making up half of every cheerleading squad, they slow the pace down a bit. Diving was in the water cube, up in the roped off Olympic Green, where I got to see the Bird's Nest by moonlight and their garden, tower, pond, and a million things that I could not have imagined when I visited the site three years ago. My good friend Rob Struck helped me into both events, connected through Coca-Cola who even let him go on the clock to diving.
Once you've got that ticket, doors open left and right, and you even get free subway passes all day just by flashing your that Olympic VIP pass at the stations. I've heard many stories about getting into stuff with enough sweet talking, but this guy got turned away at Club Bud, which was rumored to be housing Phelps after he broke the gold record - he wasn't there. I'm planning some more adventures still to come, sticking around til Monday to catch some night life and closing ceremonies with the crowds.