Are the Olympics to blame for Shandong’s power cuts? August 7:
China’s power shortages are nothing new, but now they’re getting an Olympic twist. The Yantai Evening News reported on measures being taken in Shandong to ensure adequate power for the Olympics Games.
The games are probably less to blame than a fragile power system. But why Shandong? In Shanghai, even farther from northern coal mines, and where you could probably grill yangrou chuan by holding a skewer out of an open window, the lights are staying on. An Olympic host city is going to get preferential treatment, but consider this:
In 2006, power prices in Shandong were the third-cheapest in eastern and central China, while Shanghai’s power was the country’s second-priciest. Could cheap power in Shandong be aggravating the situation?
There are problems with this argument, but it makes more sense than any Olympic connection.
The Bird’s Nest: Great venue, shame about the food, August 18:
It runs like clockwork. You get the subway to Beitucheng, go through security and you are in the special ticket-holders-only zone. Back on to the subway and it’s a short ride to the Olympic Green, complete with shrines to the corporate sponsor gods.
Entry into the National Stadium is equally smooth. Not only does the lattice design look good from the outside, it works from the inside too, offering great views of the surrounding area.
And now for a criticism: The lack of food. No complaints about the drinks. Coca-Cola has a stranglehold on soft beverages, while Budweiser, Tsingtao and Yanjing are engaged in a three-way battle for the beer market.
But barely two hours in, food outlets were devoid of hotdogs, sandwiches, chips and noodles. The last bread roll went to a guy ahead of me in the queue. I returned to my seat armed with pots of yogurt and packets of cream crackers – much to the disappointment of my hungry friends.