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Beijing: One World, One Dream, One Sol

After years of training and preparation, I find myself in Beijing, on the verge of finally realizing my Olympic Dream.

Ok, perhaps a little too much. Let’s just say that as soon as Beijing was awarded the Summer Games 7 years ago, I had planned to attend. Amazing what you can do when you’re your own boss.

So, for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be here in Beijing, photographing not only the Olympic Games, but also the Paralympics, which begin in September.

Today was all about getting reacquainted with the city – if you could see 50 feet ahead of you through all the smog. Thankfully, the rain came – it felt like home.

Kevin German will be joining me tomorrow from Saigon. Our hostess is Situ (**), a valuable and friendly friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, who offered up her apartment to two photographers not on an expense account.

Situ gave me a walking tour of the Olympic setup this afternoon after a hearty Chinese meal.

Interestingly, the restaurant menu had recently shrunk, from 3 pages to just one. The reason: can’t cook certain dishes because of the pollution (petrol) controls.

And the streets were pretty calm, too. It’s “an odd day” in Beijing – only those with odd-numbered licence plates could drive.

Things are going to get even nuttier, I can feel it.

It’s now Thursday evening, but this trip started for me on Tuesday morning. For a noon flight to LA, I woke up at 6 a.m. to finally start packing (yep, I needed a real deadline).

Spent the rest of the day in LA with photographer Naomi Solomon and her musically-gifted husband, Yehuda, and adorable son, Evyatar (aka E-Dog). They were fabulous company and a wonderful escape from a 9-hour layover at LAX.

Great trips start with great people. Thanks to the Solomons and Situ for making me feel so welcomed. They all have such wonderful energy.

(**) Situ’s “Western name” is Sophie. I asked her and her boyfriend, Y Haitao (aka “Tide”) for help giving me a Chinese name. Based on the pronunciation of my name, they came up with Ni Song.

Sing it, people!

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