The Shenzhen Universiade 2011 will no doubt have a beautiful Opening Ceremony. Also no doubt that the stadiums will all be finished in time and the facilities will be world class. There are 250 thousand (!) volunteers for the Universiade, so that can also not be the cause for problems. The city has undergone several facelifts and all the major roads and houses along those roads now look better than ever before. Visitors will certainly get a good impression of Shenzhen just by looking out of their buses. So what can cause problems?
(Potential) problems of the Universiade:
Last year the organizers said that tickets would go on sale in the beginning of 2011. Currently we are only 49 (!) days away from the opening. You can still not buy tickets! This is ridiculous and several people have emailed me from abroad to share their frustration about the (lack of) tickets. How are foreign visitors supposed to plan their trip to Shenzhen to see their son or daughter play, if they don't even know if they can buy tickets? This is turning into a bigger problem every day. Shenzhen doesn't have many events, so local people will buy at the last moment I guess. In the worst case, they could always just use a few thousand volunteers to fill empty seats or the officials distribute them among themselves.
The second potential problem for the Universiade is the weather . Currently it's the end of June and it's hot and humid. Every day the same and in August it will be a little bit hotter and a little bit more humid! You don't really need to look at the weather forecast for Shenzhen, it's really everyday the same: temperature 31-32C (about 90F) and humidity 70-90% and some heavy rainstorms. Luckily most rain seems to fall during the night, but also during the day you can suddenly get a huge downpour. This weather will for sure influence athletes from colder regions. I'm not too worried about typhoons personally. In the five years I have lived here, we never had any serious problems because of them. They always seem to go to Hainan or Taiwan :) Typhoon just means more rain and lots of wind, but nothing too serious. Only if it were to happen during the opening ceremony or for example lots of wind during the discus throwing competition it might be a problem. Oh, and the athletes that are boiled of course :)
So you get thousands of young people from all over the world in China. They meet lots of other young people, hopefully have a good time, win some medals, explore the city. They want to share it with their friends back home of course. So they go on Facebook to update their page. Oh no, that's not possible. Facebook has long been totally blocked in China. So then we just use GMail to send some pictures to our friends and family right? If you are lucky, it works. If you are unlucky (like me currently), you need to wait.... and wait... and wait (or start a VPN) to send your email via GMail. But at least we can read news right, so we know what is going on in the rest of the world. Wrong again... opening CNN.com will cause you to lose your internet connection. My only hope for the thousands of athletes is that the organizers see this huge source of frustration coming and will offer unlimited internet, but just for those who live inside the Universiade village. Let me know if they do, but I doubt it, because modern China exists 90 years. I wonder how they managed this during the Beijing Games?
What else can go wrong? I believe the organizers are doing an ok job in general. The new metro lines are operating this month there are some test events etc. Weather is not something the organizers can be blamed for (November would have been nicer, but that was probably not an option). Let me know what you think?
|Last Updated ( Friday, 24 June 2011 )|
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