Another Morning in China

October 30, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

The sun is rising over Beijing and FINALLY we can see the building across the street. The smog has lifted!!!

Just one thing I wanna get “on the record” here before I begin my day:

Cal Ripken REALLY LOVES baseball. I mean, LOVES IT! Not that this should come as any shock to me or you, but when you spend several days around him watching his absolutely tireless attitude about this trip and baseball, well, it’s just astonishing.

He truly IS the “Iron Man.”

He’s going from a three-piece suit at an Ambassador’s breakfast onto one bus, en route to a field to meet dignitaries, then to a kid’s clinic where NO ONE knows even one WORD of English. Then he’s like the biggest kid on the field every time he walks onto the field!

Seeing him question EVERY aspect of the Olympic Stadiums – their design, the fields, the grass, the dimensions, the bullpen area, the batting cages – and seeing him nod his head in knowing approval of virtually every aspect was amazing to see. Every nuance of those stadiums was interesting and fascinating to him.

Because Cal has virtually every nano-second of his schedule locked in, for us to see any of Beijing at all, we needed to break away from the Ripken group yesterday afternoon, so we skipped the first of four clinics in two days to get some much-needed rest/jetlag recovery of our own. You have no idea what moving your body clock 12 hours will do to you until you experience it.

Most of the cultural differences and weird stuff here in Beijing are best left to wnsTV, instead of this blog. So, I promise, the videos are coming…

But today we expect to visit the Confucious Temple and the Temple of God here in Beijing in the morning, and then head over to another kid’s school where Cal Ripken will be teaching some teenagers with some skills some more baseball, and then over to an orphanage where Cal will again play “Quickball” with younger children.

On Thursday, we will accompany the group to the “Great Wall of China,” which is apparently an hour ride from downtown Beijing. My wife and I actually saw “The Wall” out the window of our plane upon descending into the Beijing airport. Pretty cool!

So far, so good. Two days in China and we haven’t gotten sick, haven’t gotten lost or particularly frustrated (we did have one interesting interaction with a cabbie that we’ll show on film later that was comical).

We will depart from the Ripken folks after “The Wall” and take wnsTV on the road to Hong Kong for three days and then to Tokyo on Sunday and Monday.

We will be DESPERATELY seeking some NFL football in Tokyo late Sunday night. We expect that games will begin there around midnight and go well almost into lunch on Monday. Needless to say, we don’t want to miss the latest “Game of the Century” with New England and Indy, but it won’t start until 3 in the morning! We also hope to find the Ravens-Steelers game early Tuesday morning in Tokyo before we depart for Dulles Airport later in the day. We will capture all of this on wnsTV as well!

Here’s your crazy stat of the day: We leave Tokyo at 4:45 on Tuesday afternoon and LAND at Dulles at 2:45 on the same day. We arrive EARLIER than when we left 12 hours earlier. Reminds me of the Marvin Barnes “time machine” reference from the ABA in the mid-1970’s.

Hope all is well at home!

Off to another State Department breakfast with Cal…

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