Catbird seat

China high-speed rail. Car 1. Seat 1F.

In this seat, all life becomes Harmonious.

Deep apologies to David Feng. He was riding in 1A across the aisle and I must confess to dozing off once or twice during our discussion. It had been a long day after a long trip.

I must remind myself to keep my Rail-borne socializing to a minimum. There is something far too soothing for me in the rhythm of the rails and the gentle rocking of the cars.

Hongqiao Platform One

The great joys of business travel are the little things.

One of my favorites: the little joy of stepping off your train and onto that first platform at Hongqiao Station, with its double-wide expanse of marble and dedicated escalators.

Somehow, disembarking here is less stressful, allowing you to stay in that mellow train mood just a little longer before the taxi queue and Shanghai traffic.

I sleep on trains, so I debark in that slightly spacey post-sleep condition when my muscles are still loose and my smile a little beatific. This time, traveling on a weekend, I managed to retain that mellow mood all afternoon, and I give full credit to the little blessing of a wide, almost empty platform at journey’s end.

Capital Fair

The sun rises, and the Golden Season sneaks into Beijing.

It is hard not to love Old Dadu on a glorious early-Autumn day like this, and once again I am reminded why I made this place my home for so much of my life. 

Everything I loved about living here comes rushing back in an instant, and for a moment it becomes the Beijing of my memories. 

The sound of a horn melts the moment, and My Beijing becomes plain old Beijing again. 

Yet the blue sky, brown hills, and vermillion walls remain, ever teasing.