Monday, March 26, 2007

ESPN's take on the 2008 Beijing Olympics’s Jim Caple recently published an article on called Beijing or Bust — Beat Olympics Traffic, Get Here Now, regarding the upcoming Olympics being held in Beijing in 2008.

One of the interesting things Caple mentioned was about the reason behind the quick and ahead of schedule construction on all of the venues.

After he described the various different attributes of China’s preparation for the Olympics. Caple started on the incredibly fast transformation of Beijing’s skyline:

How fast is Beijing changing? In just my two days there, the building next to my hotel was condemned, torn down, replaced by a 10-story Starbucks, then torn down again to make way for a 50-story Best Buy. I'm exaggerating, of course. The Best Buy store will be in Shanghai.

…and then the “awful” and increasingly worse traffic situation:

Taking a ride out to the Great Wall, we hit some of the worst traffic I've ever endured. I counted eight rows of cars clogging a highway that had only six official lanes, and we were all being funneled into a mere four lanes. Worsening the choke point was an accident blocking one of the four precious lanes.

You know that opening scene of "Office Space," during which Peter is stuck in traffic and notices he's being passed by an elderly man with a walker? This was worse. In 20 minutes we crawled perhaps one kilometer. And all the while, my driver squirmed in his seat and listened to the Mandarin equivalent of Rush Limbaugh. I have no idea what the broadcaster was saying, but he sounded so angry I can only assume he must have been bitching about the traffic.

I definitely recommend this article as an entertaining piece from a not-so-jaded American’s time in China. It’s a quick bit of what China’s about.

At the end of the article, Caple described something in Guangzhou that I had already seen in Shenzhen, and wrote about it in Cab Advertising:

In addition to being very inexpensive, cabs in China (at least in Guangzhou) sometimes come with flat-screen TV monitors in the back seat. As I rode in from the airport late one night, I watched a news report gleefully showing members of the Taiwanese parliament throwing shoes at each other during a heated session. I could just imagine the commentary: "See? This is what the imperialist running dogs give you with democracy. We can give you the same thing just by opening up a Nordstrom's." It is also a very strange feeling to be riding through Guangzhou at six in the morning and watching a replay of Fish-O-Mania XIII.

I guess these LCD Taxis are spreading…

No comments: