So, I'm walking into a store in Beijing's massive Pearl Market and just about bump into George W. Bush's wife.
That's right, Laura Bush and I were both poking among the same glass cabinets looking for bargains and exchanging smiles. Strange that with all the security hype surrounding these games, I can come within throttling distance of the Leader of the Free World's Bedtime Buddy.
She had more officious looking personal assistant types around her than Secret Service agents immediately adjacent though a handful of goofy looking guys with ear pieces and whispering into their sleeves were parked in the hallway outside the store. Eventually, Laura pushed past and headed up stairs looking for more deals, not doubt shopping for gifts for her girls.
Laura Bush's security detail waits while the First Lady shops
Three black limos with a Beijing police car in front wait outside to spirit the First Lady back to Georgie Boy when she finishes browsing for bargains. I wonder if she'll be haggling like every other shopper in China does.
While the security around Laura B seemed kind of casual, now that daily events are taking place at the massive Bird's Nest National Stadium with 90,000 sports fans filling the amazing structure, the check points around the Olympic Green are painfully slow. I never had an issue with the security during the first week when the swimming Bubble with its less than 20,000 fans was the big show. And since the only way to gain access to the Olympic plaza is by being a ticket holder, the lineups to get through security, followed reliably by a warm "Enjoy the games" muttered by an earnest blue shirt wearing volunteers, were always bearable. But taking in the first night of track and field at the Nest involved a more than one hour, claustrophobic crawl to gain access to a sprawling Olympic complex which meant another significant walk after getting inside.
Bit of an Olympic buzz kill and with the prospect of the same thousands crawling out at the end of the night, I wasn't the only one who made a dash for the exits, probably not in world or Olympic record time, before the three ring circus-like track spectacle wrapped up for the night.