You know you are in a different land, and it’s not just because of the scented credit cards (I prefer winter-green myself.) or the candy flavoured cell phones (They come in cookie, ice cream, and chocolate.). What is striking -– what is palpable in China — is the feeling that anything is possible.
As I boarded the train from Tian Jin to Beijing last night, a stewardess handed me a cup of green tea. I placed it on the table next to me. A few minutes later, I happened to glance at the speedometer. The train was travelling at 350 kilometers per hour, and yet the surface of the tea was like glass…
This afternoon a Chinese Old Boy told me about how he had inadvertantly connected with an old friend. “ I walked into a shop in the middle of Beijing and noticed a Caucasian guy, working behind the bar. I felt bad that a Westerner had come all this way and was stuck making sandwiches. And then I realized that that he wasn’t just another guy. He was a classmate of mine from UCC. It turns out, he not only owns the shop; he owns a string of other shops throughout the city.”
The shop owner smiled. “I learned Mandarin by living in Beijing. It took about a year. But you can do it, and you can do just about anything here, if you want it badly enough.”