Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greetings from Shanghai!

I'm sitting in my friend's lovely (air conditioned!) apartment in Shanghai after an overnight train from Beijing. I'm sleep-deprived, sweaty and ready to scrounge up some late breakfast. Would have loved to have posted from Beijing but my computer time was limited to non-existent. For now, I'll just say that the old Imperial capital never looked so good or in such fine spirits, not since my coming here, anyway. For all of the skeptism about the Games, the costs, the controversies and crack-downs, the improvements to Beijing's infrastructure and overall environment are significant and much-needed (Subway Lines 5 & 10 - have I mentioned how much I love you both?). By the time of our arrival on August 12 (er, was it the 12?), the pollution had faded and aside from a deluge during Beach volleyball, the weather was great - clear and warm.

I should have more to say about all this when I get back to LA (and lots of photos), but here's my wish for Beijing: may you keep half those cars off the road forever. What a difference it made...

UPDATE: On the negative side of the Olympic tally, a sad and too common story - two elderly Beijing women sentenced to a year's detention for protesting the 2001 demolition of their houses to make way for Olympic development.

There are good acts and evil acts, and sometimes it's very hard to determine where it all balances out...

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