07 August, 2007

The countdown begins...

Tomorrow (08/08/07) marks the 1 year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It also marks my attempt to get back to regular blogging again and put some more interesting content up to get my following back! We'll see how that goes...

Lot's of talk as to whether China is ready for the 08' Olympics or not. I can't speak to the status of any project in particular, but I can tell you the following...

  • Construction projects - seem to be moving faster & faster. It's unbelievable to see how quick they are moving on the CCTV complex and China World #3 ... both huge, huge projects. But, will all the cranes be out of sight by year's end? ... doubtful.
  • Traffic - sucks...will continue to suck until; 1) They get better driving schools in China; 2)Stop selling new cars; 3)Current drivers get better road manners (patience, for starters).
  • Food - I haven't noticed a problem, but maybe that's because I'm used to it after being here for almost a year.
  • English - taxi drivers aren't even close to being able to take foreigners around without relying heavily on written directions from the passengers (in Chinese) or maps (in Chinese)
  • Air quality - keep forcing it to rain, maybe it will wash it all a way (for a few days). I think this and food are the two biggest concerns for Olympic athletes coming to Beijing.

NY Times has a good article published today too -

"China under fire..."

My recent experience (yesterday) with the traffic situation, which is mentioned in the article, really opened my eyes to how bad these issues may be.  My commute sucks as it is (1 hour in the morning, usually 1.5 hours in the evening). Last night ... 3 hours. Why? Due to the rain. It has been raining here a lot lately, which is very unusual for Beijing. Usually, the rain is "forced" (they seed the clouds with sulfur rockets). Why is this done? People believe mainly to clean up the air when there are important visitors in town. I'm taking a guess that this is why it's been raining so much the last week.

Well, a lot of rain causes problems...flooding. Was this not expected? Last night, 2 days before the 1 year mark, this flooding wreaked havoc on the city (and caused my shoes to be caked in mud). I hope tomorrow (8/8) proves to be a clear and traffic free day! 

No comments: