Big Venues, New Airport and Good Manners

The Games Are Taking Place in One of Coke's Biggest Markets

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Kevin Tressler
Kevin Tressler
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I am from the East -- I grew up in India -- and have been part of the Coca-Cola family for the last 15 years. China and its people have fascinated me since I started going there regularly three years ago.

Apart from having the privilege to lead our global program for these games, I have enjoyed the time I've spent in China. These games are important to us, given that they are happening in China, one of our biggest and most important markets.

These are clearly going to be the games of the century both in spectacle and competition. I have seen a lot of stadia around the world, but nothing comes close to the Bird's Nest or the Cube -- awesome!!

I expect the games to go off flawlessly -- the Chinese authorities have clearly planned every detail meticulously. For example, the other day, I landed at the new airport terminal in Beijing, which is bigger and glitzier than anything I have seen in my life.

There were a few flight delays due to bad weather and some confusion in the baggage area -- but there were quick announcements both in English and Mandarin, first apologizing and then directing passengers to the correct conveyors. Traffic has miraculously improved too, and everyone drives quite sanely and also in their lanes!!!

What has also amazed me over my last few visits is the desire the Chinese people have to connect with foreigners and welcome them to their country. My funniest moment so far was trying really hard to use the few words of Mandarin I had learned. I got into a taxi and my "Ni Hau" (hello) was met with a clear "Good morning, how are you?" This of course had me completely spellbound, but I became quite inspired by their conviction to learn. Even so, hopefully I will pick up more Mandarin during the games.

A tip for new visitors: The food is really tasty, but make sure you ask someone what is in your soup or noodles before you start eating ... or expect surprises.