China is locking down for the Olympics. It’s kind of an odd dynamic — on the one hand, I’m pretty glad everyone here is this excited and people are getting stuff done to spruce up the place for when the world converges on Beijing. I’m not so sure that the city will be ready, but we’ll see, I guess. One of the most annoying things, though, is that so much stuff has been shut down for rushed renovations in advance of the Olympics.

One of the major things I seem to be missing is the Natural History Museum. Some of the group I was with went down to see it a week or two ago, and they were turned away, saying that it was under renovations for the Olympics. What the hell, even Viceland has an article about it this month. If even Vice is on top of this, why can’t I get in and see those freaky things that are in the article? No word on when the museum will reopen. Maybe the museum is open. Just not on the days we try to go.

The National Museum is another attraction that I’m missing out on. We wandered by it several times while exploring the Tienanmen area, and finally we realized what was going on — there is a small sign in front of it, kind of hidden, that notifies would-be visitors of the fact that the museum won’t be open until 2010. Maybe I’ll get back to Beijing after 2010. We’ll see. I guess the place has been closed for ages, but at least we know when it’ll reopen. It doesn’t help me too much, anyway.

On the other hand there’s been plenty of stuff still available in the city — it’s not as though there’s not enough to do here, even with these places closed. Still, natural history museums are some of my favorite sorts of things to go to, and I’ve heard Beijing’s collection is pretty ace. It’s kind of interesting to be here at this particular moment, but it’s also a little aggravating. I’m ready for my return trip, but I’ve been warned that once you come you don’t often go home.

(As a side note: I’ve been noticing a lot of articles in Vice about China, some of which are better than others. It seems like they’ve got a lot of people they know bouncing around Beijing. I wish they would get over their hipster selves and go to D-22, because that stuff is the good stuff.)