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Hey dude, is this Beijing or L.A.?

Scott Fowler is a national award-winning sports columnist for The Charlotte Observer.

Dancing girls apparently translate even into communist cultures. At beach volleyball, a colleague reports that the sand, smog, heat, American music and would-be Laker girls all combined to make him feel like he was in Los Angeles. The dancing girls were Chinese and wore skimpy costumes, just like their American counterparts.

There have been two near-riots in the Main Press Center so far. The first came on 8-8-08, as dozens of Chinese journalists pushed and shoved their way in line at what had been a nearly deserted post office until then. Why? They all wanted to mail stuff that had the 8-8-08 postmark, since the number “eight” is considered lucky in the Chinese culture.

Riot No.2 offered shades of 1992 and the original Dream Team. During the U.S. men's basketball press conference Friday, the foreign photographers stormed Kobe Bryant, surrounding him and standing dangerously on tables above him as volunteers tried to shoo them away. Bryant was unhurt and unfazed.

One really cool thing about the opening ceremony was how basically everyone in China stopped to watch. I took a bus back to my hotel when the ceremony was close to over and there were people in the streets everywhere. Why? The bars and restaurants were so crowded they couldn't get in, but they were watching the TVs through the plate-glass windows and applauding whenever something spectacular happened.

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