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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-07-29

Traffic, Transportation and Equipment: Tips and Advice For Beijing-Bound Photographers
By David McIntyre

Photo by Frank Folwell

Photo by Frank Folwell

Common area in an apartment in the Media Village.
In the last month since I wrote about coming to Beijing for the Olympics http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2010, there has been both questions and traffic on the Sportsshooter.com message board. (http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=29909) and (http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=30070).

Let me give some last minutes notes about things before the Opening Ceremony takes place on August 8th.

First of all, when you arrive at the airport, you will show your Olympic Credential to the Validation desk that has been set up just after immigration in Beijing Airport, and just before immigration at Hong Kong airport. This will verify that you have arrived, and make your pass able to admit you to the various locations that it is registered for during the games.

Second, bringing equipment into China should be pretty easy if you have it with you, and you did not ship separately. I know of some various media organizations that have shipped loads of equipment for the games and it is still stuck in customs for China. You will have to x-ray all your bags (including carry on) as you go through customs in arrival at Beijing Airport, but you should be fine as long as your not bringing in a TV or desk-top computer.

Security leaving Beijing airport has been stepped up some, where they are swabbing all your bags as you enter, to see if there is any residue or any foreign substances.

For transport in Beijing, there is a train from Terminal 3 arrivals to the middle of Beijing that one can take, and then take a taxi, but I still recommend a taxi from the airport. As it is easier if you have several bags, and faster for getting to your destination. The cost of the train is about 25 RMD (US$ 4) each way. A taxi to the middle of town is at most about 100-150 RMB, depending on where you go in most of Beijing.

They have opened new subway lines in Beijing now, and there is one directly to the Olympic Green (where the Bird's Nest main stadium is, Aqua box or sponge, along with the MPC, etc.). From what I have heard, your credential should be able to let you ride for free. There is security checks at the entrances of the subway now, as stepped up security is mainly during the games.

For those needing to fly between various cities in China (sailing, some of the soccer (football) matches, that are in other cities), and you don't have an air ticket, can buy it online with a credit card at ctrip.com. You will either get an e-ticket, or can get it at their counters at the airport. They can even deliver to you is needed. Check out the site and see. For tickets to Hong Kong, you will need to call them (Equestrian is in Hong Kong).

Photo by Frank Folwell

Photo by Frank Folwell

Nightlife in the Houhai Lake area of Beijing.
There has also been a recent ruling that bars have been warned about not serving blacks or Mongolians. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/19/no-blacks-mongolians-allo_n_113838.html

The report seems to be mixed, as a local reporter I know has said he talked to bar owners and they said nothing of it. We kind of shrug and say: "Is it really One World, One Dream?" This one you will have to find out on your own.

The odd-even license plates on cars is in force now till mid-September in Beijing, and cars registered outside of Beijing are mostly being banned from coming into the city. They are working hard this and other ways to clean the air.

As for talking to your loved ones back home, you should be able to use Skype if you have it, or as I said before in my previous article, bring an unlocked mobile phone and buy a SIM card and have a local China number.

Many things will change leading up to and during the games, but it should be a pleasant time for all.

Have fun!!!


(David McIntyre is a freelance photographer based in Asia. You can see his work on his SportsShooter.com member page: http://www.sportsshooter.com/davidpix)

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