From my hotel window I can see the Water Cube in all its bubble-icious wonder. At night, the exterior of the Olympic natatorium turns different colors -- now blue, now white, now pink, now rainbow, and your eyes blur if you look at it long enough. Over to the left, there's a slice of the Bird's Nest stadium, encased in its metal twigs, glowing red from within, with the Olympic flame burning 24/7 above. They're the two most popular and imaginative of the Beijing venues, but they're not the only architectural fantasies at these Games.
The water cube. (AP Photo)
The organizers (and these Olympics are organized to the molecule) could have amazed and amused the world merely with the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, which are aligned according to feng shui guidelines, with the fiery stadium balanced by the watery natatorium. But they've designed all of their venues with the same sense of pragmatic artistry. The tennis court, for example, is arranged like the petals on a lotus flower.
The Velodrome. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonight at dinner, I had a duck roasted Kunming style. It had been dissected into two dozen pieces, then reassembled with the cooked head and beak. The chef could have just arranged the meat on a platter, but it was important that the diner know that he was eating a duck. That way, nothing gets lost in translation. Even if you can't speak Mandarin, you can find your way to the velodrome. Just look for the spokes on the roof.