Kyle’s Journey in Armenia

Just Another Peace Corps Blog

  • Kyle? In Armenia?

    My name is Kyle, and I am a Peace Corps volunteer in Noyemberyan, Armenia. I will live here until August 2008 and am an Information Technology volunteer. In addition to my primary assignment developing my region's WiFi internet, I also teach computer and English classes to area youth. Thank you for visiting!

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13
Aug 2008
Olympic Coverage
Posted in Peace Corps by Kyle at 9:29 pm |

The last few days here in Beijing have been a really great time. Mainly, we have been keeping busy with going to various Olympic games, all of which have been interesting in their own ways. In between, we have been enjoying the delightful cuisine, people and culture that Beijing has to offer.

(This is a somewhat long post, so maybe you can just look at the photos)

On Sunday, our first event wasn’t until late in the evening, so Sarah, Heather and I set out towards to Forbidden City and Tianaman Square, two of Beijing’s most famous landmarks. Unfortunately, we suffered an immediate setback - all of the roads between our Metro stop and the square were closed by the police for the street cycling race. Doh! Sarah and Heather decided to go shopping, and I decided to wind my way through Beijing to get to the other side. I eventually stumbled into Forbidden City nearly by accident, but had a great morning exploring the city. I even was there for the cycling race as it passed right by the square. It was an exhilarating 30 seconds as they passed by.

Sunday night we went to the Men’s 56 kg weightlifting finals. Anyone who knows me knows I’m certainly not into weightlifting, nor had I ever been to a weightlifting competition. Regardless, it was a really interesting experience. The athletes had two lifts to do, the snatch and the clean and jerk. Each of these guys weighed about 120 pounds, and could lift twice as much as I could. Amazing. The most interesting part, aside from the medal ceremony itself, was that a Chinese athlete was the winner, so the crowd went wild.

Tuesday was our day of games. We had more weightlifting tickets in the morning, so we went there for a while, but it was boring the second time, so Sarah and I left to go visit the Lama Temple, which is the most important Chinese Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It was very interesting, and most notable for it’s world-record-setting 26 meter high Buddah carved out of a single piece of wood!

After that we went to a Beijing duck restaurant, to order the city’s famous “Peking Duck”. I love duck. And this duck really lived up to its name. Highly recommended for anyone going to Beijing. Or PF Chang’s. Their’s is good, too. After that we went up to the Olympic Village, where we had tickets to women’s Handball. For those who don’t know what Handball is (like me, until 2 days ago), it’s a combination of basketball, hockey, and soccer. There are teams of 6+1 goalie, and they must dribble/pass the ball up court, and ultimately throw it into the other team’s goal. It’s very fast paced and was a lot of fun. We watched China vs. Romania, and Russia vs. Sweden. Romania prevailed in a blowout (in some of these events, I think they just give the Chinese a team out of sympathy) but the second game was much closer, with the Ruskies winning by 3. I was slightly disappointed, but congrats to them for a good fight.

Tuesday we parted ways with Beijing and rode the night train to Hong Kong, where I am now. The train was awesome, and even had potted plants! It also had those nice comforters that you get in 4* hotels, A/C, and oddly enough, a squat toilet (the only one we saw on a train the whole way). It was sad to leave China, as the hospitality and everything else was great while we were there. It will be interesting to see how things pan out after the Olympics leaves town, but while we were there we have nothing but glowing things to say about the games, the city and the people.

Tonight we went to an Equestrian event, which are being held in Hong Kong for health reasons. The event was called “Dressage”, which is basially “Horse Ballet.” It was aweful to watch, really. The argument for it being a sport is that it requires an intimate connection between rider and horse, but I don’t think it belongs in the Olympis; it requires no real athletic skill and the horse is doing the work, anyway. Besides, horses were born to run and jump and pull, not prance around. Just my two cents.

Most importantly, tomorrow morning our journey ends, and I fly back to America!! I’m really looking forward to being home. We have about 24 hours in the airplane, and connect in Vancouver, then Denver, then to Kansas City (ugh!). On Saturday I’m leaving to Seattle with my family for a short vacation (as if this wasn’t enough), and will be in Columbia for a week before I move to Dallas on the 28th.

It’s going to be a hectic next few weeks, so I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance to post again, or if I will continue the blog at all. If this is goodbye, then thank you for reading about my journey these past two years. I know my adventures will never stop, no matter where I am, but my two years in Peace Corps will always have a special place in my heart. It’s been my pleasure to keep this web journal, and I hope everyone who’s followed it has learned something about me, or Armenia, or Peace Corps, or just wasted an hour of week at work. Regardless, I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and explore the world - it’s a big one, and will teach you more about yourself (and others) than you can ever get from a book. Good night, and good luck (yes, I ripped that off, too bad).


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The views expressed herein are the views of the author and do not express those of Peace Corps Armenia or the United States government.