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.
My greatest mistake when I was an entrepreneur: going eight years without a vacation.
Baker & Spice: where you go in a major Chinese city for better iced tea. And nicer tables at which to write in your Moleskines.
My favorite croissants in the world are those baked for Starbucks in China.
Maybe they’re really that good. Or maybe I just associate them with many happy moments.
So yes, I’ll take two. And a cold-brewed.
When you bring your entire team into a Starbucks in the morning, take up all the seats, don’t buy anything, and drive the other patrons away, you are committing theft from the proprietor as sure as you are if you are shoplifting.
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.
Were I still living in China full-time, I reckon I’d have decamped to Shanghai no later than 2015.
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.