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.)