Jim Caple at ESPN has a pretty good readership, so reading his initial impression of Beijing's preparation for the Olympics is sure to raise some eyebrows with the uninitiated. He's being completely honest about what happens around here, meaning this is what people will now remember about Beijing:
"I feared the worst. Had we overheated or run out of gas during the awful backup? Was that the reason for the driver's anxiety and squirming? I raised my hands in the universal gesture of "What the @#&$?" but the driver only smiled at me and got out of the car. He rushed around to my side of the taxi and took a familiar stance by the front passenger door that quickly conveyed the problem: He needed to urinate. And he proceeded to do so right there in the middle of traffic."
It's a shame, because some days, it gets even more absurd:
"The China Daily, the English-language newspaper, ran an item one morning reporting the 11th of each month is designated as a day Beijing residents are supposed to train themselves how to stand in line."
But he's not exaggerating about anything here. These things do happen, and will continue to happen far beyond the Olympics in 2008. I just hope it doesn't sway too many people from ever coming to China though. Despite the extreme number of oddities about it, I can't think of anywhere more interesting to be right now.