Playing Games In China

Yes friends I am alive and well. I’ve just had too much going on as I try to wrap everything up before the kids arrive in four days.  Yes… just four more days. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Those of you who know me are acutely aware that I can never seem to find enough hours in the day to begin with, so whenever I have to cram in anything extra, I flail like a newborn puppy in the deep end. I always seem to manage to make it to the side of the pool but you can bet somebody’s gettin’ wet in the process. Add to the mix my impulsive nature and well… all bets are off.

Anyway, I’ve pretty much been working everyday, in some way shape or form, for about two months. The only time I had off was the week I had the flu. Funny, I’m looking back fondly on that week now. I’ve had to make up the class time I missed, as well as pre-make up class time I’ll miss while traveling with the kids. I also had a couple of photo-shoots (they always have pesky deadlines) and…. wait for it… cue impulsive nature.

After being told my Wednesday and Thursday classes would be cancelled, I decided I would hop over to Guangzhou in hopes of being able to shoot some of the Asian Games. Totally impulsive move, as I had no credentials and had arranged to buy totally overpriced tickets to get into the venues. I arrived at midnight Wednesday and it took just two phone calls and all of about two hours to snag press credentials. You really can get almost anything done in China with the right guanxi (relationships).

Thanks to my friend Alex Lai for the help in getting my credentials AND for letting me borrow his 400mm lens and monopod. The lens costs more than a small car and I break out in a sweat each time I put it on the camera but man is it fun. I gotta’ get me one of those when I win the China Sports Lottery. Alex, if you’re reading this, your lens is fine… so far.

I find every time I return to Guangzhou I like it more than the time before, and I’ve liked it plenty since the first time I came through 4 years ago. Some expats don’t seem to think much of the city but there is something about it I really like, I dig the vibe. I also want to give a plug here to the buffet dinner spread at The Westin. I’m sure there must be a better Western food experience somewhere in China but I’ve yet to find it. I make it a point now to eat dinner there every time I’m in town. I love Chinese food but not every day and it’s slim pickens for Western food in Liuzhou. I’ll head back home tomorrow night, teach Monday and Tuesday and then fly to Beijing Wednesday. Thanksgiving in Beijing with the kids sounds like it could be fun!

Our Beijing itinerary includes all the usual suspects… The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Summer Place and some of the Olympic Venues. We’ll probably see the Chaoyang Acrobats and then we’ll spend a couple of days in Xi’an with The Terracotta Warriors before heading on down to Guangxi. I’m not sure how much, if at all, I’ll be posting on the blog or Facebook while the kids are here, but I’ll try and put up some updates now and again!


18 Responses to “Playing Games In China”

  1. Joshua says:

    Excellent shots. Love the emotion you captured in these.

    I like sports/action photography, but hate feeling like I’m shortening the life of the poor camera after 500 shots have been taken. I usually end up in the same boat with pesky wildlife…

    Anyway, this makes me want to try a 400 or 500mm. Not that I could ever afford it… I think I’ll be “stuck” with my 300mm f/5.6 for some time.

  2. Ron in L.A. says:

    Mike, enjoy yourself, have a blast with the kids and a great Thanksgiving…


  3. Jesse says:

    These are top notch photos! you are lucky to have gotten press credentials. I got nosebleed seats at mens football and women’s field hockey, and a few nosebleed shots! it was fun though.

  4. Jesse says:

    And I agree about liking Guangzhou more and more each time, especially now with all the shiny new buildings and clean streets! As far as food, its great that you can find little pizza joints and Indian food and other western food around every other corner. I’m off to get some italian near the train station now!

    • Yeah, for me, one of the best things about traveling to the First Tier cities is the variety of food! Like I said, I do love Chinese food, but sometimes I really have a hankering for some comfort food!

  5. Mike says:

    Wow, you got some incredible shots there, Michael. Great work.

    Have a fantastic time with your kids!

  6. Evan says:

    Wow, that was great getting some press passes. I saw some photos of the Opening ceremony on the Boston Globe Picture sight. Looked amazing. Some great expressions with the table tennis photos. A fantastic experience for sure and great to have a friend with a big old 400mm lens I bet:) Keep the photos and blogs coming.

  7. Stevo says:

    Nicely done, Micheal. I do love me some sports photography. Have fun with the kids. Will you manage to eat turkey?

  8. Nancie says:

    Fantastic shots, Michael. Enjoy your time with your family.

    I’ll look forward to your shots of the Wall. I was there on a 40 degree day, loved every minute, and somewhere in my travels lost the memory card with my photos…… :(………. I guess it means I’ll have to go back again.


    • Yeah, I’ve been following the forecast for the last few days Nancie. The way it looks, I’m hoping for 40 degrees and some sun! You’ve just reminded me to pick up another large memory card!

  9. Fabrizio says:

    Great photos, as always. I know nothing about cameras, and yet find myself intrigued by this godly lens of which you speak. I especially like your puppy-in-the-pool analogy.

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