Monday, September 1, 2008

Theme Day: Sister Cities

The first of every month is theme day among the City Daily Photo blogs, and the theme for September 1st is Sister Cities. I got it together too late to sign up officially for the theme this month, but will that stop me?

Pasadena has several sister cities. One of them is Xicheng District, Beijing, China. Hmm. Let me see, what's been going on in Xicheng District lately? Do I know anyone in Beijing?

Ooh. I'm so lucky. My friend and voice-over mentor Michael Villani, one of the loveliest people you could ever meet, has just returned from calling indoor volleyball in the Xicheng District of Beijing at the 2008 Summer Olympics. You may have seen Mike on your television screen as the indoor volleyball venue announcer at the table right at the net. He was part of the action and he had the time of his life. Here's Mike's caption for the photo above:

Mr. Tien, the Indoor Volleyball competition manager, with me and Du Shuen, my Chinese contact for the last 6 months and Mr. Tien's assistant...and a shot of the new (for the Olympics) Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport, at 3.8 billion (yes, Billion) dollars to build, it's one of the largest buildings on Earth.

Mike's been writing a column for his hometown newspaper in Costa Mesa, and emailing copies to friends. A couple of excerpts:

I am being treated like a “rock star” here. I’ll be sitting at my announcers table...and a group of enthusiastic young Chinese girls and guy volunteers will come up and snap a picture. The bolder ones ask if I’ll take a picture with them. When you pass them, they go out of their way to smile, wave and say hello...It’s just one of the most pleasant environments I have experienced in a long time...I have found, especially with the young people...an exuberance and joy that abounds in everything they do. These are extremely content, happy individuals, who love to treat one another with the utmost respect, kindness and dignity. I have to say it is very refreshing.

Before boarding the flight home, Mike sent a reflective message:

How do you write about a surreal dream...something you can't even imagine happening to you in the first place. How do you capture the essence of magic and try to do it justice in a few columns?

148 City Daily Photo blogs got it together in time to participate officially in today's theme. Check them out!

(Because today is theme day, Zen Monday will be Zen Tuesday this week.)

27 comments:

Jilly said...

Fascinating take on today's Theme. I see Ming in New York posted Beijing too. I'm sure Mike must have had the best time at the Summer Olympics recently.

Virginia said...

Wonderful post today Petrea. I loved reading about your friend Mike. I got in too late as well. Next month we'll be right on it I'm sure-HA

Katie said...

How fun to see this photo and read about Mike's experience at the Olympics! The idea of sister cities is a good one; I'm glad this theme is getting people thinking about other places in the world. Now I have to look up my own sister city!

pasadenaadjacent said...

Zen Monday got bumped?

Kelly said...

Excellent post, Petrea! That building is just ming-boggling!

marley said...

How lucky for you to have someone at hand like this! Great take on this theme :)

Petrea said...

Hi Jilly, thank you. I'll go see what Ming posted today, too.

Virginia, I was so excited about having a photo from Beijing. When I went to get the code I found myself locked out. Guess I forgot to sign up! So I signed up for October's theme. I don't know what it is, but signing up early is apparently the only way I'll remember to do it.

Katie, I haven't looked (except at Paris) to see what other people did. I bet this theme sparked creativity.

PA: How does one deal with a misplaced Monday?
Tomorrow will be our third Zen Tuesday. #1 here, #2 here.

Kelly: One of the largest buildings in the world, Mike said. That's something. The Chinese have leapt from the 19th Century into the 21st so fast. It must be jarring and thrilling for them all at once.

Islipian said...

Themes? Themes? I'm a Theme Fiend! Where do I found out about the Themes??

Coltrane_lives said...

There is indeed hope for our future relations with China. Fantastic connect for the day's theme. Merci.

Laurie said...

Delightful post today, Petrea. And your friend's words about the experience are truly inspiring.

Knoxville Girl said...

Petrea, thanks for sharing your personal connection to the photo. I didn't sign up for the theme day either, but decided to post something related anyway.
(p.s. how 'bout them Vols *snorts & rolls eyes*)

Palm Axis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Petrea...Thank you for including my pictures and words in your Blog. You are a great freind. The young people are truly changing the face of China and the world was able to view it in a most spectacular way. I am very grateful I was chosen to be a part of it.
Michael Villani

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

The August 2008 Vanity Fair has a nice article on all the new buildings in and around Beijing, and the architects who dreamed them into being. Terminal 3 at the Beijing airport (aka: PEK - a throw-back to last century) was designed by Lord Norman Foster.

altadenahiker said...

The Altawegians do not have a sister city. Does that mean I can choose one? All I'd have to do is email a chamber of commerce, tell them they are the lucky winner, and -- what are they going to say -- no? What are they going to say -- take your city with backyards of roosters, and emus, and zuuchinis and leave? Think not.

Bernie K. said...

Don't forget the wombacoots.

Petrea said...

Marley, it WAS good luck!

Islipian, if you're part of the City Daily Photo Blogs family, go here and click on Members/Theme days. If you're not a part of the family, check out the rules and join up!

Thanks, Coltrane.

Laurie, I thought of you when I realized I hadn't signed up properly, because you asked me a while ago what I was doing for theme day and I kept it a secret! Oh, I thought I was smug.

KG, I'm on my way.

Michael! The star of the show! Hey, everybody, it's Mike! Thank you, Mike, you're the best.

Thanks for the info, WCGB.

Hiker, you may have to go through that feisty Altadena Town Council. Wombacoots on the council, I hear.

altadenahiker said...

I should have mentioned zuuchinis are a hybrid vegetable found only under the 210 freeway -- on the Altadena side. I'll be in the area; I'll try to get a picture, but they're shy and move very fast. Someone told me they'll come out of hiding if you approach with chane.

freefalling said...

Yes, my people are very inspirational (don't forget I AM 1/16th Chinese!!! - I figure that's the equivalent of one arm and hand - so I have one hand that is very good with chopsticks).

Mike said...

Thank you, Petrea, for this pic. I'll still treat it as your own shot.
Costa Mesa is one of my fav cities, just too bad it's an hour away. I can recall fondly the 1st time I visited the place in the winter.

Is it true South Pas & AltaDena don't have any sister cities?? Strange. Pasadena wouldn't have anything to do with that, would it?

ben wideman said...

Great photo Petrea! Good to check in on the Pasadena world from Ontario.

Petrea said...

Altadenahiker! You funny.

Freefalling, by that reasoning there's not an ounce of Chinese in me.

Mike, perhaps you can make Costa Mesa your personal sister city. Since South Pasadena and Altadena are not governed by Pasadena, I imagine you're correct in assuming that Pasadena has nothing to do with their sister city status.

Still in Ontario, Ben? How many eligible bachelor friends do you have left? They're dropping like flies!

USelaine said...

...chane, chane, chane... chane, chane, chaaayne...


Ben - Any of those eligible Canadians in their fifties, and prepared for a stout woman? I'm trying to line up a Plan B in case the November elections go terribly, terribly wrong. Again.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" didn't register for this meme, but he's had a splendid time visiting those who did!

Jim said...

Pretty neat you sent him all the way over there for Theme Day and it just so happened to be the Olympics.

babooshka said...

What a timley city to be your sister for the theme. It was interesting to read of the warm welcome received. It's also interesting to note when some cities have more than one sister, most bloggers have chosen the same one from the list to highlight.The personal touch, a real connection with the city is a bonus.

Petrea said...

Chane of fools, doo doo doo. Gonna defect, Elaine? Get a Canadian green card? You know that doesn't work in the US anymore. Can't just marry a US citizen and get a green card. I have a relative enduring that pain.

Thank you for dropping by, darling Louis.

Prize for the funniest comment of the day goes to JIM!

Babooshka, I noticed that, too. I wonder why.