I got back from Shanghai late last night and took a cab home from the airport. When we got to our exit off of the fifth ring road, there was a policeman there blocking it. I told him that I lived in the area, and wanted to go home. He told me that next time I should be sure to take a car with a permit.
He told us that starting on July 27th (tomorrow), only permitted cars will be allowed into the Olympic area that includes our apartment. Some taxis have permits, but not many. I asked him how I was supposed to get home, and he told me to take the bus. Unfortunately, there is only one bus outside of our apartment complex, and the direction it heads in is the opposite direction from places I’m usually headed. My other option is to walk for 20-30 minutes until I get out of the Olympic area.
Last night he let me through, but the taxi had to stop about a ten minute walk from our apartment. As I rolled my bag towards our complex, I noticed a large crowd by the side of the road. Once I got closer, I could tell that it was people lined up to buy tickets. There were 100 or so people in line. It was 11:40pm. The policemen there told me that tickets had been sold since early morning, and that the line originally stretched for several hundred meters. This particular location was selling tickets only for Field Hockey and Tennis!
When I got home, I saw this NYTimes article. Sounds like things didn’t go all that smoothly at the Bird’s Nest.
Actually, the whole ticket selling process has been a huge ordeal, with lots of hiccups/disasters. The initial round, in which you chose 10 events and 10 backup events, went pretty smoothly, but recent rounds of sales have involved long lines and computer crashes. Of course, when you have a country with over a billion people, all of whom have probably at one point or another thought that it would be interesting to go to the Olympics, selling and distributing a limited number of tickets can be challenging.