I arrived in Beijing this afternoon and met up with my dad and his wife at the airport. Immediately, i could feel a sort of weight lift from me, as i no longer had to struggle with trying to make people understand what the hell i was saying. At the same time, i felt like i was a teenager again, but this time people really were talking about me, and i had no idea what they were saying.
My dad got into a conversation with a taxi driver who started to talk about how the communist party hadn't done anything good for the people since 1949... i glanced around nervously, but no cops burst from the seats and stopped the cab, and we didn't end up sparking an international incident. Phew!
A few first impressions about Beijing...
Aside from the air quality, the city is very clean. Hong Kong similarly impressed me with its cleanliness, and i was all set on giving up the chinese stereotype that we were a dirty people. Xi'an, however, brought that stereotype alive, and i feared that i should have been named pigpen rather than Linus. However, once again, i felt comfortable relying on the graces of communist totalitariasm to make sure that the Capital is clean for when the foriegn barbarians visit for the Olympics!
Also, unlike Xian, the city's drivers actually obey traffic laws. I had to quickly regain my Frogger skills to make it in Xian, b ut Beijing, i could actually rely on pedestrian signs and not be on the constant lookout for a rogue green colored monstrosity planning on my jumping out of the way to avoid an accident.
Anyhow we went to out hotel, which turns out to be very nice and a replica of old chinese compounds. Very cute. Here is my dad and his wife in front of their room.
We walked into the city, and found Tianamen square...
We were serenaded during dinner by Peking Opera... i'll pass.
This is a traditional "shadow puppet" theater..
One of the city gates.
The city is super modern, super clean, and very much ready for the Olympics, there was a Beijing Guard in front of Tianamen who looked very ready to repel any western invader at the slightest provocation, but he was also wearing what looked like a cell phone on his belt, illuminated, and i sure ready to play the latest Kayne West song as a ringtone.