Beijing sure has changed since we were here in 1996.  The once-tiny airport is huge and modern.  Rush hour traffic is near gridlock, so motorists are only allowed to drive on specified weekdays.  A few cars even have special dashboards.   Electric motor scooters have almost entirely replaced gas-engine motorcycles.  We could learn from this.

Beijing has gone vertical.  Apartment and commercial buildings have sprung up by the thousands as people flock from the country to the city for a better life.  IBM occupies the Head of the Dragon Building near the Olympic stadium.  Window washers on tall buildings look like spidermen.  Hotels are quite modern--our hotel bathroom amenities included condoms and a separate tap for drinking water.

During the Cultural Revolution most trees in Beijing were cut down because they were decadent and did not contribute to the revolution.  Back in 1996 young soldiers were planting trees and today groves of trees line the roads--all about 15 years old.

The Great Wall attracts people from everywhere, including rural China.  Some country folks were unfamiliar with people who had full beards and light-colored hair. Several families asked us to pose for pictures with them.  We felt somewhere between celebrities and Martians.

Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.

Alan & Gloria