Sniffer dogs and security sweeps
It's now been two weeks since we arrived in Beijing, and things are moving fast.
The BBC's area in the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) is buzzing with activity, the studio in the Ling Long Pagoda is taking shape, and the sun has even been shining most days! However, issues of security and access still dominate the build-up.
As would be expected, the local authorities are very sensitive about the area surrounding the Olympic Green. However, the negative effect of this is that simple tasks, like catching a taxi, become incredibly difficult due to traffic restrictions. Some of our staff, who have been relying on taxis as the only means of transport to their hotel, were forced to take an hour-long walk back yesterday.
On Thursday the IBC and surrounding area underwent a security sweep and had to be vacated all day. The period after this is known as 'Lockdown', and every person entering the area must go through a 'mag and bag' security check. This is perfectly normal procedure for an Olympic Games - but has an added disadvantage this time, as a few of us are staying in hotels within the IBC security ring. So we vacated the hotel while security teams with sniffer dogs carefully inspected our rooms and belongings. Must remember to wash those socks...
Progress with our studio in the gleaming Ling Long Pagoda has been mixed. Most of the equipment was delivered by container two days ago after a three-month journey by sea.
When we arrived, though, we found that the owners of the building had installed some extra lighting bars - which meant that our carefully designed lighting truss now didn't fit inside the studio.
Fortunately our brilliant team of engineers spent all of yesterday sawing, hammering and rebuilding - and came up with an ingenious solution which should ensure our viewers get an even better view of the Bird's Nest and Olympic Green.
And at least we don't have to clean our own windows...
To see where the BBC Studio is situated in relation to Beijing and the venues, we have created some 3D virtual animations - which will look stunning in HD.
One issue which may seem trivial, but has occupied a lot of time over the past two-and-a-half years, is that of water delivery to our offices in the IBC.
First we're told that we won't have water, then we're told that we can't bring in large barrels (they're a security risk), then we're told we have to find our own supplier (and now barrels are no longer a security risk) - it's been one of the many frustrations of these Games.
We felt we'd achieved a victory of sorts when we finally managed to get a local company to deliver yesterday. Although when it arrived, I must admit it wasn't the biggest delivery vehicle in the world...
Next week, post-Lockdown, a lot more of the team start to arrive. Perhaps then we can then get on with the real job in hand.