Beijing Olympics – Four Years After

The flag amist rubble

I’ve been trying to get this shot for months now. Since the best vantage shot is on a highway, with cars driving at (relatively) high speed, most of what I’ve got was blur.

This was once a fairly big (brick) village, which has been leveled over the months. One of the last remaining buildings in the area a large Chinese flag hanging on it. I’m sure that building and flag will also soon be gone.

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – Four Years After

Smokestack and the Pangu Plaza Hotel. During the seven years prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, the government shutdown and/or moved most factories within the Fifth Ring Road. The factories were either relocated farther out from the city center or to another province. As far as I can tell, most smokestacks within the Fifth Ring Road are associated with coal-burning plants which provide steam for heating during the winter. (The street in front of our apartment complex is once again being dug-up… this time to work on the steam piping. I hope to go down into the tunnel at some point.)

This is some sort of a tower being constructed at the Olympic Green. Considering that I was 30-stories up when taking this picture, I think it’s going to be pretty tall. Don’t have clue as to what it is going to be, however. Click on the image to view a larger version on flickr… I really like the levels of depth to this shot (actually, shots).

This is the Olympic Sports Center, which is located not far from the apartment. The photograph is also a composite. Checkout the panda.

And, finally, the Bird’s Nest, with the Water Cube in the background.

Beijing Bicycle (Rental)

In August of 2007, roughly a year before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an entrepreneur rolled-out a bicycle rental scheme in the capital city. This effort was noted in both Chinese and Western media:

Although I think Mr Wang surely must’ve made money off of foreigners visiting the city for the Olympics, here’s what one of the rental stations now looks like:

Beijing Bicycle (Rental)

The bicycles have long been abandoned, left chained together in key places through-out the city as they rot away. This particular place, in the Wudaokou area, had more than 50 bicycles. (There are actually two groups of bicycles here — one red and one white — I think the red ones might’ve been from a competing company.)

In discussions with friends at the time, there was a general consensus that the scheme would fail:

  • The bikes were of poor quality
  • Most people who would ride bikes already had them
  • The one year fee was more than that a person would pay to own a bike outright (especially at some of the city’s “used” bike markets)

In addition, it seems that there wasn’t much maintenance being performed on the bicycles.

Note: the title refers to the movie Beijing Bicycle.

Thirteen Skies of Blue

We had another absolutely stunning spring day here in Beijing…. blue skies, white wispy clouds, and bright sunshine. (Not that you’d see mention of this in the Western Media… it seems only the “bad weather days” are worthy of coverage.)

Shanshan and I headed off by taxi to Ten Years Cafe in the Wudaokou area (once again become a Saturday routine). She needed to head into work, so I decided to walk around a bit taking pictures, stop by the area hardware store to get some duct tape and wall fasteners, and then head home by bus.

Since the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is only a few months away, I thought it might be nice to give a “four years after” view of places/things related to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. You’ll see some of those shots in today’s post. In addition, I’ve added a new category to my blog called… wait for it… Beijing Olympics – Four Years After.

Beijing 2008 Central Planning Building 1

The building is still in use, not quite sure happening there.

Blue Skies and Light Traffic

Taken from a “sky bridge’ (pedestrian over-crossing) on Chengfu Lu.Again, although Beijing certainly has bad traffic at times, it just isn’t true to say everyplace in Beijing has bad traffic all the time.

Sky Bridge, Blue Sky, and White Clouds

Idle Smokestack in Wudaokou

One of the few remaining smokestacks in the area. I think this one is for a coal-fired plant that is used to produce steam for winter heating, but I could be mistaken.

Khoo Teck Puat Gymnasium

The gymnasium, on the Peking University Campus, was a venue for the 2008 Olympic Games.

375 with Blue Skies and White Clouds

Older Building with Blue Skies and White Clouds

This building, which was probably constructed in the late 1980’s, is old by Beijing standards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was torn down and replaced within the next five years.

Pagodas with Trees

Beijing 2008 Central Planning Building 2

Beichen Bridge

Okay, I must admit that I took this picture not only because of the colors and shapes, but because I found myself chuckling at what I did with the name on the sign… imagining it being said as ‘Bitchen Bridge”.

Dragon's Pearl

The Dragon’s Pearl on the Pangu Plaza Hotel. Located right next to the main Olympic venues, this “seven star” hotel was the place to stay for the 2008 Olympic Games, if you had the cash/connections.

North Star Continental Grand Hotel

Also located near the Olympic Green… available for those with less cash/connections than were needed to stay at the Pangu Plaza.

Tower F in Blue and White

Yep, that’s my apartment complex once again. Notice the enclosed balcony. More about that in a later positing.