Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Best of Beijing

It's still hard to believe that, just one week ago, I was on the other side of the planet in the beautiful city of Beijing. I had no idea what to expect, but certainly didn't think that I would be spending my time in a modern city that easily rivaled many others. Imagine my surprise when we walked into the largest airline terminal in the world, an engineering marvel that was a sign of things to come. During our first night, we went into a bazaar that served scorpions on a stick. Just down the road, was a 24-hour McDonald's that delivered. This was typical of the contradictions that we would see all week. Our hotel was beautiful and contemporary with every amenity one would need, while a mile away was the Forbidden City built in 1407, home to emperors and all who served them. Two of the companies that we visited made the latest in clothing (TopNew) and computers (Lenovo), yet instead of being highly mechanized, they were filled with people, doing every job possible as fast as they could. Throughout the week, we saw very few overweight native Chinese, although there didn't seem to be many health clubs in town. Every morning when I ran, I passed many walkers of all different ages and many others just exercising in the street. And, on the flight over, when I got tired of sitting and found a corridor to do a little moving in while listening to my Ipod, I was quickly joined by three Chinese women who said nothing but just followed my moves. Based on what we were served at various restaurants, the Chinese eat a diet heavy in meats and vegetables. Bread and dessert are hardly ever seen, except for fruit at the end of the meal. This combination of sensible diet and regular exercise serves the population well. The skies were interminably gray the whole time that we were there, even on sunny days. The people who we encountered, however, were always ready with a smile and a willingness to help. This highly populated country with its various financial, political, and environmental problems, also has incredible potential in so many arenas. It is what makes it such a compelling place to consider doing business in, and such a wonderful place to visit.

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