Or is it "Chinese Taipei"?
In any case, a lot of people have been talking to me about the Olympics, saying how it must be so exciting to be so close to the action. I'm actually in the same time zone as all of the Olympic events, and I suppose a lot of the Olympic coverage could actually be watched here live, unlike most of what's playing right now in the US.
And yes, it was extremely exciting to go to a big ex-pat sports bar to watch the Opening Ceremonies in HD, counting down to the infamous 8:08 on 8/8/08. I watched the whole thing with several of my Fulbright ETA peers, slowly ordering pitcher after pitcher of Taiwan beer to justify our presence at the bar counter. It was fun to listen to the lively and loud cheers for Australia, New Zealand, England, Vietnam, and Austria, among others, as they marched out. We all cheered from the US, and the friendly Taiwanese bartender (Paulo?) cheered with us. And of course, the bar exploded for "Chinese Taipei." No one cheered for China when they finally came out, but I could easily chalk this up to exhaustion after watching so many countries parade out, and not the political atmosphere (but let's be honest, I'm tempted-- Kaohsiung is known for being Pan-Green and the center of pro-independence support in Taiwan).
Before moving onto the first instance of complaining on this blog, I'll show a picture of some of us having fun at the "Pig & Whistle" on 8/8/08 (me, Billy, Dani):
Now for the disappointment: apparently NBC has paid Beijing so that all of the "exciting" events (at least by US standards: gymnastics, swimming, basketball...) are aired live during primetime in the US, which means when I'm asleep or at work (8am/9am) because of that lovely 12 hour time difference. I realize that I am indeed from the US and perhaps the rest of the world doesn't find these events as exciting, but I'm still allowed some disappointment at never seeing these controversial China-crushing-US gymnastics competitions.
I heard that NBC would be putting all of the events online in full, so I thought this would be a good way to catch up, but of course, those videos are blocked to everyone outside the US. So all I've seen so far of the Olympics is clips that show up on the nightly news here, or whatever is deemed worthy of evening airtime on our actually very comprehensive Taiwan cable-- so far, I've seen archery, volleyball, and handball (I didn't even know that was an Olympic sport). The Asians love their handball?
The good news is that, thanks to my Slingbox, I can at least record the events on my home cable box and stream it here whenever I get a chance. But the moral of the story is that even though I'm a few hours away from where the action is, the US is still the only one that gets to experience it. Sadness!
It's alright, just four more years until another summer Olympics... and less than one year until the World Games in Kaohsiung! But that will have to be the topic of yet another post... For now, bedtime.