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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 11:12 UK

My Games: Beijing diaries

We've asked My Games viewers who are in Beijing for the Olympics to record their experiences.

As the Games draw to a close, the contributors sum up their experiences over the last two weeks.

Frances Chen
Frances Chen, Chicago, USA
"The Bird's Nest was an amazing venue, and with seats so close to the track, we could hear the athletes panting as they bolted past! "

Robert Scales
Robert Scales, Montreal, Canada
"I only hope that when the dust settles, the people of Beijing will be able to find themselves again in their new city and old routine."


Frances Chen with an Olympic mascot
Frances is a voice actress and has lived in Beijing for four years

It's 8am, I'm at Starbucks, and it's packed!

It's crowded with the interesting combination of Austrians and Japanese, sitting side-by-side, chugging down coffees before heading over to the wrestling competitions around the corner.

That's what's been really fun here in Beijing - encountering fans from all over the world, having a good time. Not only is the world seeing China in a new light, but the local Chinese are encountering folks from countries they've never been exposed to.

Living here watching Beijing over the past four years preparing for this coming-out party, I've found it's been a crazy, funny, frustrating, and fantastic ride!

Beijing experimenting with traffic and pollution control measures, me acting in a slew of Olympics-related educational videos for a nation's English cramming efforts, massive clean-up and street beautification projects, and prices across the board rising to an all-time high, just to name a few.

I've never met so many helpful people on the Beijing streets before, and I especially like the fact that many toilets have been upgraded!

Frances Chen gives a tour of the boxing venue

It's nice that the Games put Beijing on the map. The last time I was back in the US, and not to rag on fellow Americans, but when I told a woman I live in Beijing, she said she'd never heard of the place.

Watching the games has been wild! I'm a sucker for costume parties, so it's been great fun watching the competitions live, complete with amusing hats, temporary tattoos and draped with a flag.

Watching the women's marathon runners inspired me to dust off my running shoes. I practiced running with outstretched arms and an agonized face, to make sure I look the part crossing the finish line. I guess I've got a few more years to perfect it for London 2012!

Watching athletics in the Birds Nest was incredible. An amazing venue, and with seats so close to the track, we could hear the athletes panting as they bolted past!

When China's athletes were up, the crowd's cheers were deafening. Coupled with sudden camera flashes everywhere, the atmosphere was electrifying!

Getting event tickets had become borderline obsessive behavior for me and a few friends, who have all been frantically checking websites, meeting potential ticket sellers in clandestine places, negotiating ticket trades left and right, calling each other to check ticket prices… We might need to form a ticket shoppers' anonymous support group!

I had a marvelous time! World records were broken and China raked in the gold medals.

The clouds parted, and there were days of great weather, with blue skies and sunshine.

China welcomed a pretty critical world to her home. And I think she did a fabulous job as a host.

But it's not ending here. I've got tickets to the Paralympics!


Robert Scales with Beijing policeman
Robert runs a web development company based in Canada

The Olympics are coming to an end for me.

As I depart to go back to Shanghai before I make my way to Europe for yet another technology conference, I reflect on my time here.

This past week has been amazingly busy for my countrymen/women and me.

Canada managed to make its way on the medal board; at the last count we claimed 13 medals, not bad considering that in the first week we performed poorly.

I managed to catch up several events, including beach volleyball, softball, athletics and cycling.

I explored the city in more depth and managed to make new friends, including a few folks from the IOC.

I had the opportunity to hang out with some people I had not seen for some time and taste new cuisine.

Robert samples grilled snake

Sadly I spent a few days' sick after contracting a bad case of food poisoning, a first for me, sad considering that I have been in China for over a year without any incident! It was just one of those days I guess!

Overall these Olympic have been mostly free of incidents. Despite the various controversies regarding the usual doping cheats getting banned, and some issues around the media's right to document protests.

There was also the news that the opening ceremony's firework were pre-recorded and computer generated, and the ethnic minorities who walked in bright costumes were all Han Chinese. And let's not forget the little girl who melted our hearts singing at the opening ceremony, when she was actually lip-syncing.

Despite all this, we must give credit to China. "Host a great games, build a new city" is one of the many tag lines we see around town.

I leave Beijing having added new pins to my Olympic collections, made new friends, and best of all, having achieved another one of my dreams; to attend an Olympic fencing match.

As many folks have said already - it will be a long time before we get to see Games like this again.

China went all out to host the world for 17 days, they took this opportunity to improve their nation's capital and build a modern acropolis.

I can only hope that when the dust settles, the people of Beijing will be able to find themselves again in their new city and old routine.

Check out my flickr feed to see my Olympic pictures:

The views expressed on this page are those of the individuals concerned and not the BBC

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