The first working day in Beijing was shot because of our late arrival the previous night. I woke in time to get a few things done in the morning, but felt sleepy all afternoon. Finally, I decided to call it a day at four. This is not too early by Beijing standards, where people go to work early, so creating traffic jams at 5 in the morning, and leave a little after five.
Instead of falling asleep at an odd hour we decided to go for a walk at the Olympic plaza. Everyone alive probably remembers the iconic stadiums as a TV staple during the 2008 Beijing olympics: the bird’s nest (above) and the water cube (below). If you look at travel photos at all, you will find wonderful shots of these structures aglow with lights at night. Looking at these photos I’d wondered whether the structures look equally good during the day. Here was our opportunity to check it out.
We reached a couple of hours before sunset. The vast and windy plaza was full of people. We walked up the plaza to the stadia. They looked beautiful in the light of the setting sun. The bird’s nest is to the east of the plaza, and is illuminated by the sun as it sets. The water cube is to the west, and the setting sun shines through it. Ai Weiwei, the chinese artist, apparently was retained by the architectural firm of Herzog et de Meuron to advise on the design of the bird’s nest. The water cube is a marvel of modern architecture, especially in its use of innovative materials. The two were placed together to reflect traditional Chinese cosmology, so the east-west orientation of the two must be planned.
We will go back again to photograph them at night. The Family also wants to go inside. With my daily schedule, I may not be able to go with her.