"I came from Lithuania. It's a long trip. I came for the Beijing Olympics," said Vitalija on the corridor of China's National Stadium just 20 minutes before the opening ceremony officially starts Friday evening.
Leaning against bars of a balcony, she was extremely excited. Inside the stadium the mixed spectators of both Chinese and foreigners were applauding for the pre-shows.
"I came with my husband. Our country is so far away. But the trip is worthwhile," she told Xinhua in broken sentences of simple English.
Clad in green, the middle-aged Lithuanian said that she was a teacher, arrived in Beijing two days ago and would stay in Beijing for 10 days.
She was taciturn, quietly waiting for the great moment to come on the corridor.
Not far away from her, a group of French tourists were busy taking photos of themselves and of the stadium.
"We come from Paris for this opening ceremony. We are a group of over 600 people," Aristeia said in fluent English, while sipping Coke from her paper cup.
"We represent Sport Communication based in Paris. It is the official ticket agent responsible for selling tickets in France," she said.
"We are lucky people," Boyer Lucien, a young man with the group, said with a broad smile and a happy face.
The long and wide corridor is filled with people busy looking for their entrance, drinking tea or queuing for coffee and fast food. Their faces shone with light and excitement.
"The queues are so long. I have never seen so many people. We are expecting the opening of the opening ceremony," one foreigner said quickly before disappearing into the gathering crowd entering the stadium.
"We arrived here one hour ago for the opening ceremony. We are expecting it," Phillipe with Belgium's Le Soir news paper said while watching the pre-show.
He thought the pre-show was great.
"It's just great, a great show, very impressive," said Nils Weber from the newspaper Morning Post of Hamburg, Germany.
"I will not write any story about the opening ceremony now. I maybe write one about it tomorrow. Today I just want to watch and enjoy," he said, with eyes glued on the performances unfolding on the ground.
(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2008)