After our extensive tour through history, we headed to the market where we were accosted by booth people. Bargaining was all around and it was stressful. I actually had to get stern and tell a few booth girls to stop touching me. Someone called me a liar (which actually ended up being a bargaining tool for me) and I had had enough.
Irritated and shopped out, we headed back to our hotel.
The plan was for me to take a short nap and then for us to head out.
It ended up we all napped - until 2 AM!
Needless to say, we didn't go out.
When we awoke, we caught the subway to the Olympic sites.
Side-note: I am pro-democracy, don't get me wrong, but there is something to be said for 100% of a state's resources going to one goal. The Olympics was this goal, and beyond the Olympic sitese themselves, the Olympics has had an impact on this city - even I could see that. The subway system is second-to-none. Clean, efficient, effective and cheap as hell!
I digress, we got to the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. Both of these sites are amazing.
It is hard to get a real sense of their impressive nature from the tv. Sure they looked cool, but they were incredible.
They are both marvels of modern architecture.
Both are beautiful, but I hate the Water Cube.
You see, the Bird's Nest was straightforward - buy a ticket at the gate, go through the gate and gawk.
The Water Cube was a convoluted example of poor planning - or at the very least, a government needing make-work jobs for people.
Walk here, go there - the whole thing from crossing the street to the Cube, to getting tickets, to getting in, to checking it out, took two hours and only 45 minutes of that was spent actually IN the Cube.
I was cursing the entire time.