Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Speed Skating - Asian Winter Games 2011 - Tuesday, 1 February
There was only one speed skating event held after 4 pm, and so that was the one I got tickets for. The schedule said that one event was at 3 pm, and another at 5 pm. I have a planning period from 3 - 4 pm, so I got permission to leave early and see if anything was going on at 4 pm. (Maybe the 3 pm event would last until 5...?)
My friend R (whose daughter, A, is close friends with Sophia) picked us up and we went to the Speed Skating Arena, not too far out of town. Traffic was not bad--nothing like on Sunday (Opening Ceremony day).
We arrived around 4 pm and to our astonishment, no one looked at our tickets! We did go through security--a metal detector and we had to open our bags and turn on our cameras for the security officers. Surprised, R joked to the security officer, "Do you want me to show you pictures of my daughter?" He smiled.
I'm an American, which means when I have a ticket, I expect that it means something. So I led R all the way around the building until we found the exact section where our seats would be, and I spent some time trying to find our exact row and seats. Someone (a volunteer, I think), told R that we could sit wherever we want, which in the end we did. No one seemed to care whether or not we had tickets, whether or not we sat where we were supposed to sit.
Why had I paid $10 per ticket when I could have come for free?
A few people were skating around the rink--an enormous rink, with beautiful, smooth, shiny ice. After a while we realized that an event was taking place! It was the 500 meters race, two people racing at a time. They started on the other side from us, so it was difficult to figure out what was going on.
But once we figured it out, it was fun. They announced which countries were racing, we listened for the bang! signaling that they had started, I positioned my camera in hopes of getting a good photo, and Sophia and her friend cheered for opposite teams. (Sophia rooted for China and Japan; A prefers Korea.)
Then, at 5 pm, was the awards ceremony. It was over.
Wait a second. Hadn't the schedule said that there would be an event at 5 pm? My ticket said 3 pm, the time of the first event, but the schedule had listed two events, one at 3 and one at 5. A schedule that a volunteer had listed the events as running continuously from 2 pm, ending around 5.
So, yes, it was fun, and at $10 a ticket, it wasn't that expensive. But it was short and could have been free. Disappointing.
On the way home, we stopped at the park in front of Khan Shatyr, which had a huge torch and a statue of the snow leopard mascot. We took some pictures and then made it home by 6 pm--earlier than I usually get home from work! At least that was nice.
Two more events (figure skating) to go!