A Connecticut Yankee in Tianamen Square

November 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Travel | 1 Comment
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First things first – China hates WordPress. It could have been my communism posts the other day. So here I am on blogger; I will attempt to get sneaky and get this migrated to my Wordpress blog via my in-state people. 


Where to start…

Your Ad Here

Had I been blindfolded and dropped into the Beijing airport, I would have assumed that I had just arrived in the country of General Electric. I have never, in my whole life, seen more advertising per capita than in this city. This is virgin territory for the marketers of the world: a nation of 1.3 billion who have yet to form a brand preference. If you are a multi-national company, there is nothing but upside to be had here. They are advertising on billboards. They are advertising on buses. They are advertising on people.



In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

In the late 1990’s, Beijing decided that they would like a subway. So they built one. One hundred and eighty miles of new subway tunnels in less than ten years time. To put that in perspective: the city of New York started work on their subway system in the early 1900’s; they’ve got about 220 miles. Buildings and industries are springing forth from the earth here at a rate unprecedented in the world to date. This is an engine of production that, when focused, designs, assigns, and completes projects in the blink of an eye. 

It has not happened yet, but I am sure that there will soon come a day when China begins to export cars to the United States. They will focus this power of production, these numbers, this ambition, on our consumers. This will happen, and when it does, make no mistake – the Chinese will not enter the American auto market, they will devour it.

In contrast, a story of the last Emperor of China: at the close of the communist revolution, he was expelled from the Forbidden City. This man, this living symbol of a nation, spent his later years back in the Forbidden City – as a gardener. A more noble pursuit, methinks, than the cookbooks, late night talk show appearances, and memoirs that our deposed leaders spew forth on the nation in their retirement years.

Strike a Pose

There are several universal truths about traveling Americans. One of them: if you are a nation with ancient statues and monuments of immense cultural significance, I assure you this: Americans will hump them. They will straddle them, mount them, and do things to that dog statue that evoke a particularly related style. We, sirs and madams, are a classy bunch.

In this vein, while touring the Forbidden City, we learned that the Emperor had four favorite things: the number nine, the color yellow, women, and dragons. With this last one in mind, we decided to pay tribute.


We have shown him great honor.


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