14 August 2008

Olympics in Taiwan?!?

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.


Glennie said...

mm, didn't even think about the time difference as NBC is showing them "live". If it helps, since I get up so early to go to work and have semi-crappy internet connection All I've seen is beach volleyball and diving.

PS. I think I'll make it a goal to respond to all of your posts. Be warned, you may get incredibly inane comments.

Judy said...

Hey, Kates -- I laughed when I read your post as we were living in Belgium during the 96 Olympics. We saw lots of fencing. Lots and lots of fencing. But virtually nothing of interest to Americans. It was fascinating to us to learn that greco-roman wrestling, fencing, and soccer were all that mattered. Huh. No swimming, no gymnastics. And then if we were lucky, two days later the International Herald Tribune gave the results. And we were only 6 hours away from Atlanta!
Would love to know your thoughts on the Opening Ceremony. Though beautiful, we thought they were kinda creepy. And then when the stuff started coming out like the lip-syncing because the little girl with the fabulous voice wasn't cute enough....weird, weird, weird. How many people can be the same size and smile the exact same way??
Okay - love your apt, think kitschy is fun. All good here. Going back to the beach tomorrow.
Bih hugs. Have fun.
Aunt Judy

Cressy said...

Haha, I have the opposite complaints. What's up with not broadcasting live football ("soccer") or ping-pong (among some others) here in the US?! I've been watching them online grudgingly...:P
I guess you can never really get away from home, no matter where you're in the world. At least technology helps, so enjoy the games as they last~~~
Your blogs have been fascinating. Glad things are great. Keep them coming. Take care!