My Experience at Cup of China, Part II – The Free Programs
by Renee Lacy
After a morning of slightly damp sight-seeing and shopping, it was time to head to the Oriental Sports Center. I had packed a bag with a few snacks and an umbrella before leaving that morning. It turned out to be very useful as I joined the throngs of umbrella wielding fans and headed up to the stadium from the metro station.
I got to my seat just as the ice dance warm up was starting. The stadium was much more crowded today with even more fans with telephoto lenses. The free dances were fun to watch. I was very impressed with Samuelson and Gilles. Apparently the judges were not. The Shibutanis’ program was elegant and joyful. It was amazing to see these dance teams in person.
During the break I went to the ladies’ room where I discovered the proper way to line up for the toilet. In Shanghai, you stand in front of the stall you want to go in and wait for the person to come out. Hopefully you do not pick the slow one. When I got back to my seat, it was occupied. The locals were amused when I made the person move.
The ladies free skates went by quickly. I was happy the US skaters did well. The same was true for the men. There was redemption, meltdowns and overall great and exciting skating. If they ever do a movie about Michelle Kwan, I found her body-double in Chinese skater, Bingwa Geng. I did a few double takes myself.
There was plenty of time before the pairs skated. They have things running like clockwork. I caused some trouble being polite and letting people cross in front of me while wandering around during the break. The trick I learned is to just keep pushing through. Do not stop or slow the flow of traffic or people behind you will make noises and push you. Also, be warned – the stadium roof leaks.
The increased quantity of people in attendance made the food and drink lines so long. The mystery dishes looked scarce, and the line was nearly endless. Unfortunately this means you and I will never find out what “rock salt cheese” topping for fruit tea is. Good thing I had my snacks and an extra piece of fried chicken I shoved into my bag at lunch time.
Wrapping up the night was the exciting pairs free programs where just about anything could and did happen: wild falls, repetitive lifts, overdone eye makeup, regal costumes, and frosty partner relations. I would have stayed for the award ceremony after 10pm, but my camera battery was dead and the metro closes between 10:30 and 10:45pm, so I scurried off with the majority of the crowd. At my ending metro stop, I found the golden arches for a late dinner. Thankfully the rain had subsided, and I enjoyed a leisurely walk back to the hotel. Now it’s time to pack up for the trip home tomorrow.
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