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Encountering the press!
August 22 2008

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Having run out of places to go, im reduced to scouring travel websites and browsing through travel guide books for any places of interest. If it wasn’t the Forbidden City, it was Tiananmen square. Otherwise, it was the great wall and the summer palace. No doubt they are cultural treasures and a sight to behold, but going there a third time simply didn’t hold as much excitement anymore. Moreover, the radical makeover and intense commercialization only made it worse appealing to me.

Finally, I found it. Tucked away in a small corner of travellerspoint.com’s travel guide, I discovered a special place called the bookworm. It was a place where books, food, coffee, and music came together. A great mashup, I thought. Making the decision to visit the bookworm turned out to be one of the most phenomenal experience during my Olympic games travels.

Bookworm was aptly situated, squeezed in between tall buildings and hidden from the bustling main road, just like a worm. There were merits, however, as the place allowed for a really rustic and cozy experience. As I step through the door, I immediately felt the warmth as light classical music filled my ears and a lingering aroma crept into my nostrils. It wasn’t as big as I expected though, the library being just a small room and certainly didn’t look like 16,000 as boasted. The bookshop was surprisingly small, with a ridiculously small amount of books for sale. Travel books, however, were pretty abundant.

‘That’s all? This is it??’ I thought to myself.

Disappointed, I prepared to leave, almost spurning the opportunity of a lifetime. A petite Chinese lady with beautiful sparkling eyes approached my table.

‘Hi, would you mind doing an interview for us about this place’ asked the attractive lady.
‘They are reporters from Columbia and im their translator. Just give us some time to get the equipment ready please.’ She continued.

‘Er ya sure, no problem’ I replied without thinking.

As she left, I thought what I got myself into. Shit! Hate this. How is it going to turn out? What’s going to happen? As these thoughts raced through my mind, they quickly came to an end as I thought about the fun aspects of being on the media and being interviewed. Well, who would have such a chance! Lucky me. Suddenly, a thought drifted into my mind.

‘They want to interview me? Why don’t I interview them back! Hey, im a citizen journalist too! ‘

‘That’s got to be interesting, journalists interviewing each other. Just like a PK match. ’ I thought.

Wasting no time, I walked over and expressed my intention. Surprisingly, they warmly accepted my interview and even treated me to a glass of wine!

‘So, do you feel special being Olympic reporters? Holding special passes, being able to move about freely at venues, talking to athletes, and traveling in privileged Olympic vehicles with their own lane.

‘Well no I don’t really feel anything special. Its my work, and I have no time to enjoy or take in all this, all the time rushing between places and thinking of my next sentence.’ He replied in a string of fluent Spanish.

Slowly, we moved from a pretty formal interview into small talk about work, lives, Olympics, dreams and the like. Talking like old friends, the conversation drifted from the ends of the Earth to Olympic experiences. Switching topics were frequent, as was talking partners. At first, I speak only with the male reporter, but slowly we engaged everyone and I was able to talk to the female reporter and the translator as well.

‘ Now you ask and ask and ask. Later, its my turn to ask and ask and ask.’ The male reporter jokingly told me.

As we waited for the call for the interview to begin, I had the chance to talk to the translator alone as we left the reporters to their meals. Complaining about employer’s poor habits was really interesting as I saw the South American side of things. At long last, the call came and it was time to do the interview! 3 simple questions about the bookworm and it was over, leaving me a really great experience. Exchanging e-mails afterwards, I made 3 really interesting friends as it definitely left a beautiful mark in my Olympic experience.

‘Hey! By the way, you were live in New York, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, peru, spain…..etc etc! You are famous!’ The reporters informed me.

Well what can I say but ‘wow?’ An amazing experience through and through.


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