Also, when you are sweep rowing, if there are two of you, you are a pair. If you both have two oars, you are a double, or double scull, and so forth. If there is just one of you, you are sculling. If there is just one of you and you are sweep rowing, you are going around in circles -- something I do well, and perhaps you do too.
Eights have eight rowers plus a coxswain (pronounced cawkson). Coxswains are tiny people with large voices who sit in the back of the boat facing the rowers and yell commands at them. When their teams win, they are happy because of the victory and apprehensive because generally their team throws them in the water. Or is it the coaches the team throws in? I am hoping Margot never reads this because she will throw her hands up in despair. What is amazing to me is that combined with all the sheer physical effort of rowing, she is also steering and thinking. They all are.
What also amazes me, or perhaps is just something I envy, is how expert all of them are at every part of their sports and I know this is true of all the athletes here and those who aren't who have still reached this level. For rowers, they know how to rig the boat, take care of it, move it around, feel what is happening in it. It may look simple but it most definitely is not.
We saw Margot this morning for a couple of hours at her hotel and had a lot of fun hearing about the race and watching her reaction to all the photos we've taken, and vice versa. We also had a chance to hang out a little with her boatmates, Jen Kaido, who sits right behind her in the boat; Lindsay who sits in the three seat, and Lia in the four seat. Each of them has a role in the boat but I'm not sure of what each is. Lindsay for instance watches the other boats and tells Margot when she needs to change the stroke. I asked Margot if they talked while they were rowing and she said about the only thing she could do other than breath is yell out when they change the stroke.
What a great group of women. Margot said they go everywhere as a unit. She had some great pix of the Great Wall where the four of them and their coach, Matt Madigan (also Mar's coach in DC), are all in an incline trolley car together.
They had the morning off which is why we had a chance to spend some time together. We came back home after visiting the Wu Mart for more water. A 12 pack of water there is about $1.60. We have found that although our hotel room cost is outrageously inflated (from $45 to $300 a night), other costs, like taxis and food (at least in our hotel) are very cheap. I don't think it will work out to a wash exactly, but it sure helps.
We came back and both John and Nathan pooped out so I wrote and painted and then they woke up and went over to the recreation hall here and Nate bowled a game (now that cost $4!). I straightened up a little in the room and then we went out to the parking lot for dinner. They serve "Barbeque" every night, at least during the Olympics. They set up tables with yellow table cloths, bring out upholstered chairs, hook up a 30" TV, bring out some chefs, and wait for people to happen by. John and I came out here the night we arrived and I was eaten alive by mosquitoes.
We were the only people tonight. After generously spraying ourselves with DEET, we shared 2 large bottles of Chinese beer, fried rice, skewers of grilled lamb, grilled corn, grilled cauliflowers, a plate of chinese cabbage salad, edamame, and roast mutton chops. All for about $20. This place has a farm where they grow their own fruits and vegetables. They also have a couple of places to fish and have chickens (maybe other animals, not sure). So, the produce comes right out of their gardens and I have been bit by bit eating more of it (like melon in the morning) with no ill effects (quite the opposite), and couldn't resist the salad made of fresh shredded cabbage, cherry tomatoes, maybe a few other things I couldn't see (because it was dark by then) but which tasted really good.
So, I'm hoping this doesn't tie me to the bathroom tomorrow. Nathan brought his meds along so I should have a speedy recovery if necessary.
Today, then, was vegetating day (at Nathan's request... these men are so FRAGILE!). Tomorrow we are planning on going into Beijing and doing Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. Then if we're not too disgustingly sweaty, we'll head for the Bank of America and have some free food and drinks and watch some competitions on TV.
Nathan just skyped Margot and she is about to head for bed. I am dying to see the NBC coverage because several people have told me that the commentator said some really nice things about our boat and Margot.
Will wash the DEET off in a minute. Am listening to Kiri Te Kanawa sing Puccini on my iPod after a fresh dinner under the "would be starlit if the smog wasn't so dense" night in China waiting for my daughter to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Life is GOOD.