First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Riceometer Check & Tiny Beijing

OK, lots to cover today.


That's right, folks! 75 percent... although optimists would say I have 25 percent remaining.

Sometimes I wonder what you all think of me. I mean, sure, I've worked with many of you for years, and known others of you for decades. But do you really understand, deep down in my soul, what a complete and utter nerd I am?

Well, if not, I think I've got just the thing. On Sunday, I went to the Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition.

Now, before you picture some boring, empty place with exhibits on sewer infrastructure and insulating methods of the modern home... well, you're right about that part. But the place does have a redeeming factor in the form of its centerpiece exhibit: a massive scale-model reproduction of much of the city.

Where there aren't models, it's a giant aerial photograph. It's sort of a glimpse into the near future, with completed versions of the Olympic Village and their newest skyscrapers in addition to carefully arranged and minutely detailed versions of ancient landmarks.

Here's a view of the business district where many of the most recognizable towers are going:

And a look down the main east-west street. The funny thing is, I think this gets across the scale of the city almost better than any of the real pictures I've taken.

The dark rectangular building in the exact center of this photo is the Urban Planning museum itself. To the left and up is Tiananmen Square, and above that is the Forbidden City. To give you a sense of their attention to detail, inside the museum model is an even teenier, tinier city!

The Hou Hai neighborhood, northwest of the Forbidden City:

A detail of the new National Stadium, the showpiece of the Olympic Village, affectionately known as the 'Bird's Nest':

So how do I sum up the Urban Planning Exhibition? Quite simply, it is a fascinating perspective on the city, a humbling reminder of the great works which man can achieve, and a spectacular preview of the architectural marvel Beijing is fast becoming. Oh, and best of all, it lets you pretend to be Godzilla:

("But Godzilla is Japanese, not Chinese," some of you are exclaiming. I know that. So why don't you just lighten up and go back to saving baby seals or writing fan fiction for Ed Begley or whatever it is you do all day.)


This client farewell video continues to escalate. This morning, I went to a recording studio in the city to get voiceover tracks for the video, read by the client's marketing/communications director. He has an English accent, so of course it sounded good.

Despite never having done this before (I have recorded with my band, but not exactly the same thing) I was able to fake it pretty well, I think. I played the producer - "Let's try another take from paragraph two, OK? And try the emphasis on 'his' instead of 'has,' OK? Who loves ya, baby?" (OK, that's a bit far) - and I think it actually turned out quite well.

Eye of the tiger!


This was in the gift shop at the Urban Planning museum. It's a small commemorative Olympic-branded baseball bat, which comes in its own carrying case shaped like a small commemorative Olympic-branded baseball bat.

I may need six of these.