Beijing in Party Dress

This blog has been woefully neglected!  No updates in months due to many wonderful visits from family and friends, some trips around China, including Xi’an, Yunnan province, Shangri-La and remote parts of the Great Wall.  We went home to the States—San Francisco and Seattle—for 2 weeks and saw loved ones there. 
After one year in China, I experienced only mild culture shock in the US.  The cities felt so static compared to  Beijing’s constant state of transformation.  I’m used to all the building, erecting, planning, planting, hedging, blooming, booming. 
Now the capital has her party dress on with breath bated for 8-8-08.  Beijing doesn’t have Olympic Fever, but Olympic dreams, and they’ve covered the land like a soft blanket of giddy hope.  A slumber party to last the rest of Summer.  Fresh paint, banners and garden beds Ornament every boulevard and highway and all the parks’ landscapes are buffed, guilded and meticulously landscaped. There’s bustle in the hedgerow.  Bricks and dust have been replaced by glass and modernism with the launch of splashy new buildings.  A rainbow of Olympic signs proclaiming world unity and victory for all cover yesterday’s humdrum billboards hawking condos malls and luxury lifestyles (for few).
The city is not frenetic but serene, like in an Olympic trance.  Maybe it’s just the delicious dry heat of summer that has everyone ambling along.  Nobody knows what Beijing will be like when the party is over, but for now we groove to the rhythm of cicadas clacking, dragonfly wings flapping and of waiting.

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