Hot on the heels of his success getting into the The Olympic Volleyball Stadium, Burbex was determined to find more Olympic sites from 2008. With a kind reference from a friend and with an excellent entry in Wikipedia on the subject, Burbex was easily able to find The Olympic Kayaking Course.
Located a million miles from anything outside the sixth ring-road not far from the airport, Shunyi has definitely seen better days since the Olympics were held here eight years ago. To its credit, the Olympic Kayaking Park does still attract some visitors and the boating and wake boarding facilities are pretty decent. Burbex doesn’t care about decent though, where’s the abandoned stuff?
It is extremely easy to get over the fence and actually into the dried up kayaking course. According to Wikipedia, even by Olympic standards, this was once a very challenging course, but now Burbex ran through it with no problems at all. The funny thing about his course is how underwhelming it seems without the water.
Only the occasional signs remind you that this was once an Olympic site. Burbex had also seen these yellow signs at The Olympic Volleyball Stadium, but there were a few more here in multiple languages, like this one keeping out French giants…
Or this one for German women with holes in their stomachs…
But the winner by a mile has to be the Doping Station sign. Burbex was wondering where the dope was hidden. The smog was getting thicker and he needed a pick-me-up.
Of course, everyone’s favourite Olympic mascots put in an appearance covering a rickety scaffolding bridge swarming with bees. You might remember Beibei from The Olympic Volleyball Stadium or Jingjing from The Olympic Mascot Mall. They looked pretty rough before, but now they are plumbing new depths.
Bridges crisscross the course connecting grassy islands where spectators would have been sitting.
Plus massive conveyor belts feature in the course which would have lifted the kayaks from the bottom of the course next to main lake…
To the top.
Burbex investigated underneath the conveyor belts and found some powerful looking mechanisms.
The course features various flood gates to control the flow and direction of the course.
But again, like Beibei’s Bridge, each was swarming with angry bees.
Enormous pumps also controlled how much water was let into the course and presumably how fast.
Clambering out of the course and onto the outside banks of the course, there are some coastguard boats left to rot. While Burbex is usually known for his cat burglar-like skills, piracy was a new avenue as he climbed aboard.
It looked to Burbex as though the SS Chairman Mao had been in a head on collision.
One other strange boat contraption stood nearby, like a boat with a conveyor on it. Burbex suspected this was used in emergencies to put kayaks out of the water. Now it was just rescuing a whole lot of weeds growing up the belt.
One final treasure was hidden in the trees as Burbex left, a countdown clock which had long since counted past the days minutes and hours to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It seemed an appropriate farewell as Burbex waved goodbye.
Despite being drained out and dried up, the Olympic Kayak Course is in much better shape than its sandy cousin The Olympic Volleyball Stadium, but without the kayaks, white water rapids, and the cheering crowds up on the bridges, the course felt pretty sad. That being said Burbex still awards The Olympic Kayak Course a B- grade.
If you would like to come and dip your toes into urban exploration in Beijing, or just want to stick in your oar and see what it’s all about, be sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll be more than welcome to come along. Don’t forget your life jacket!