August 2001 Archives

Hello, Humor Column

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So are they friendly here?" I ask when we enter Beijing's Friendship Store.

"Of course not," my friend Peace explains. "This is China. When they say one thing, believe the opposite."

The Friendship Store, by the way, is not where one comes to buy friends. (I'm told there are other places for that in Beijing). Instead, it is the state-run department store, and Peace is right. Nobody here is particularly friendly. Only in China, would a government ever attempt to make itself synonymous with the word friendship.

Inside the Forbidden City

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As I enter the Forbidden City, I have just one thought: "All this for one guy?" This place is absolutely massive. I still don't know how the emperor kept track of it all. All the names of the buildings are wonderful, but so easily confused. Pity the poor eunuch who thought that the emperor told him to report to the Hall of Supreme Harmony when he really said the Supreme Harmony Gate.

Welcome to China

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It's late April, and Beijing is certainly not the most popular vacation destination for Americans. The American and Chinese governments are still bickering over the collision of an American spy plane with a Chinese fighter jet, and yet here I am, arriving in Beijing for an eight day vacation. I had planned the trip months earlier. My friends Peace and Brian are studying here for the year, and I didn't want to miss this chance to see Beijing. Little did I know that I would be visiting during a major diplomatic crisis. Needless to say, my mother is not thrilled. 
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