In late June, I was invited to a photography seminar at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The weeklong visit allowed the opportunity for professionals and "pro-amateurs" to perfect our sport photography technique by photographing some the USA's best athletes. This jarred my enthusiasm to attend the Olympics in person.
Admittedly, my travel arrangements seemed last minute with the event less than 8 weeks away. However a fellow photographer I met at the seminar and I decided to give it a try. Turned out to be easier than we thought. Janice Bond at James Travel in Boulder found a flight with good connections for a 'reasonable' price of $1850. This is about the same as Europe in the summer. Hotels were a bit trickier. Mid level accommodations for Beijing generally go for about $50 per night. For the Olympics, rates were 3, 4 or even 5 times more than the normal daily rate. Working through some China hotel web sites, we landed a room for $150 per night that is 4 miles from the Olympic Park.
Last but not least was obtaining a Chinese tourist visa. Rather than figure out the bureaucracy and logistics on my own, I used a passport service in Denver, International Passport Visa, Inc. The web site had very through instructions and proper downloadable applications forms. The only odd requirement was to show proof of a hotel and airline reservation. Naturally, the concern is what if you do not get you visa and you’re stuck with non-refundable reservations? Solution is ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance. Many travel insurance companies are now offer this., Of course, it is expensive as it cost me $200. for $3000. worth of coverage.
So, $230. dollars later, I now have a Chinese visa in hand, and ready to go.
I leave town on August 11. I will try to keep this blog rolling with my daily experiences and upload photographs as time and internet access allows. Please feel free to comment or ask questions as I venture into the new Beijing.