The Beijing 'smog' is a breath of fresh air after Typhoon Julian's rude welcome in Macau

Well, we're off - and I almost didn't make it to the starting line thanks to Typhoon Julian!

The super-efficient people at the British Olympic Association warned us of the typhoon on Monday. We were told that if it reached Grade 8 then everything in Macau stops - the bridges are closed, public buildings are locked down and the coach drivers stop. They didn't say anything about airplanes not taking off in a tropical storm but I'd worked that one out for myself!

The next morning the typhoon level was at Grade 1 and it just seemed like a cloudy day in Bournemouth but with a bit more humidity. By the time I was due to pack for the return trip later that night it was at Grade 3 and the following morning I woke up to the grade 8 news.

From the luxurious confines of the Team GB hotel, where we were marooned all day, the typhoon seemed little more than a serious rainy day in Manchester. There are certainly worse places to be stuck than a luxury resort hotel but the pent up frustrated energy of 150-plus young athletes wanting to get on with it hung everywhere in the hot and humid air.

Having checked out I found myself at one point in the TV lounge watching the BBC documentary about young sprinters with some of the film's. subjects sitting in the same room - a slightly surreal experience.

Anyway, 12 hours late we finally made it into the air and off to Beijing - the airport in Macau has one runway that is built out into the sea and the Air Macau flight rattled like a boneshaker as it trundled down the runway. Not an experience I'd like to repeat in a hurry, but tired and hungry, we finally made it to the Olympic Village at around 3 30am to be met by the very welcoming and efficient staff of the BOA.

Early the next morning, my first sight of the Olympic Village confirmed all the expectations that it is a super-efficient, logical and - in places - very beautiful place. With so many people living on top of each other it's surprising to find places of quiet contemplation hiding between the appartment blocks.

We arrived from a typhoon to a storm of a different kind with media attention focussed firmly on the "Beijing smog" and stories of American athletes getting off the plane wearing face masks.

The only people not talking about the air quality are the athletes living in this environment which seems to all of us here to be of no particular concern. No-one here can understand what the fuss is all about. It certainly beats a typhoon!