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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time way back  in 2008 the Olympics were held in Beijing, China. They created this swimming complex for all those competitions that are done in the water. This complex is called The Watercube. This is THE complex where Michael Phelps broke records and became the fastest man in water. We watched those Olympics more than any other.
Fast Forward to 2011....
When we decided to go to Beijing we knew we would go to see this Watercube and the other well known Stadium the Bird's Nest. However, what we did NOT know until we got to Beijing was that one of the pools at the Watercube was turned into a waterpark for the public to enjoy more and most likely earn more money. We HAD to go! HAD TO! Even Greyson, who isn't particularly fond of waterparks was ready to go. Think about it, Americans. In China. At the Watercube. Swimming. We were so there!
We toured the competition pools, did some looking around. Recognized the diving platforms from TV. Took our pics of Henry the Gnome and decided to get a little lunch. We find a table to sit at and instantly we are bombarded by people wanting our picture! There was one Grandma that just kept posing her Grandkids all around us and asking for more pictures. Then Greyson walked over with some of our food and the picture posing started ALL over again. As she's taking pictures other people are sneaking in photos of us while we are posing. It was hilarious!
The paparazzi finally leave us to our food and we start to look around at the waterpark portion of the Watercube. It LOOKS AWESOME! We down our food and head downstairs to the locker rooms and entrances. Bob pays for our way in and gets the key for our locker. The place is HUGE! There are a ton of kids running around without clothes on and some of the parents aren't much better. That's just out in the common areas where the lockers are located! We make our way to the shower areas and there are so many more totally naked bodies running around that I thought we had a stripper bar, Americans are so hung up on modesty! It was hilarious but Natalie was very uncomfortable. Even the dressing stalls don't have doors! We hurry and get our swimsuits on and leave to meet the boys to put stuff in the locker.
Now, remember that key Bob got for the locker. It works like an easy pass, you scan the key and the locker opens. We found a locker and put all our junk into it! Clothes, camera, passports, money. ALL in the little locker.
We enter the great OLYMPIC WATERPARK. This place is packed! And a little cold, they have aircon being pumped into it but get in the water and it's fine. There is a huge wave pool near a stage and they do shows on the stage every so often. There is also a big screen on the wall by the wave pool, this is great for watching the show. The show has blasting music, live dancers, an emcee and a balloonist dressed as a clown! During the show there are cameras that film the swimmers and when you are on the big screen you are splashed by EVERYONE! It was great! Grey loved it and Jake seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the people!
Natalie and I waited in line at the slides for a very long time. She wanted to do the red slide that actually shoots you UP! We decided against that one and went on the blue one that is much more tame. I still didn't like it, I hate being in an enclosed space in my older age. Greyson and Bob did the red slide and LOVED it. You are  put into a tube and they count down before you free fall into the slide! It was pretty cool but I couldn't get up the nerve to do it. We ended the trip with the lazy river and decided we were done.
There seems to be no such thing as water diapers here so I was a little more careful than I usually am at a pool. I saw lots of naked baby buts in the pool. We headed to the showers to wash off the chlorine and any thing else we may have picked up. Once again, tons of naked bodies all cramming into a tight space. However, the showers were nice and hot even with tons of people using them.
We all meet back at our locker and CAN NOT get the thing open! We try and try. The scanner thing is not working. The Chinese kid next to us starts speaking to us in ENGLISH! We were so happy to understand someone. Seems we made a HUGE mistake! There is actually a number on the key fob and THAT was the locker number we needed to use. NO ONE told us! ALL of our important stuff is in that locker! Unless someone who has that key came and threw our stuff out. It's a tense situation!  After some laughs at our benefit our new little friend helps us find an employee to help us.  Of course the employee knows no english and our mandarin is practically non-existent. (note: when visiting a foreign country brush up on the local language)  We are saved by our English speaking Chinese friend, again. They all laugh at us AGAIN but We all finally understand each other and the locker is opened! Wallah, Our stuff is safe and sound! We all breath a sigh of relief. That could have been so bad. I'm so grateful that the Chinese believe in teaching their kids a second language at an early age, I am also grateful that out of all those lockers we got the one by the kind english speaking grandfather and kids. God looks out for us fools!
Our trip to the watercube is over and we are all very happy. We end up finding a McDonald's for dinner, discuss our amazing time at the Cube and then find a ride back to the hotel. The ride was another one of our big mistakes but I'll save that for another post!

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