Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Live from Hong Kong

Seven years ago, I was in Beijing when there was a special news report on television: Beijing had won the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games. I remember announcers crying, fireworks exploding, and all kinds of celebration and mayhem. I also remember thinking how fanciful it would be, if seven years in the future I returned to China to watch the Olympics. In the intervening time between then and now, I'd given little thought to this idea and dismissed it as something that would be nice to do but too difficult to arrange.

Since then, I've picked up my ultimate pastime, horseback riding, which would ultimately prove to be my ticket to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It turns out that my riding buddy, Tanya's, father is a member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and acquired tickets for all of the Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong for her and all her friends (including me). And so, last year, quite disbelievingly we arranged the trip that I am now privileged to be on.

It never really felt quite real until that first day when I walked along the Kowloon shore and looked across the harbour at the world-famous Hong Kong skyline. The trip that began with this breathtaking view of Hong Kong would ultimately lead to the climax: cheering on the US equestrian jumping team as they rode by on their hard-earned Gold Medal victory lap.