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Athletes, officials enjoy stay in Qingdao
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08:39, August 25, 2008

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International sailors and officials have enjoyed their stay in this city along the coast of Shandong province.

When there was no race, they traveled around Qingdao sightseeing, shopping and enjoying a taste of Chinese culture.

Even for those who competed in the 2006 and 2007 test events, the city offered new experiences.

"The city has changed a lot. The Olympic Village is perfect. Now it's like we are queens," said Athena Frai, a windsurfer from Greece who has been to Qingdao three times.

"I like buying things in the market. They are cheap. Every time I came here, I bought different things, typical Chinese goods like fans and clothes," she said.

French silver medalist Julien Bontemps gave thumbs-up to the environment.

"The city is well arranged. I like it very much. The seaside is very beautiful," he said.

Cypriot windsurfer Andreas Cariolou bought electronics.

"It's cheaper than in my home," he said. "And I bought authorized Olympics souvenirs."

Some people fall in love with the Chinese food. Nilco Mittelmeier of Germany said "some of the food is so special - I enjoy it a lot."

Deshopol Phuanukoolnont, coach of the Thai team, appreciated the kungfu tea performance.

"There is a natural taste in the Laoshan green tea. I will take some to my friends," he said.

"The village is fantastic. Everything is comfortable, and it's really nice. The people are very nice, very kind and very helpful. I'm really happy here," said Irina Hentschel Mendez, captain of the Mexican team.

The folk art area in the Olympic Village is a popular site for recreation. Sailors and officials sampled Chinese culture and bought artwork for relatives and friends. They also wrote Chinese characters with traditional brushes.

Source: China Daily

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