On the flight from the US to Beijing, one of my fellow passengers wore a black velvet suit, and a hat with a shiny band. It was the most attention-grabbing outfit I'd ever seen on an airplane passenger.
In the arrivals lobby, he and his friend were mobbed by a crowd of Chinese girls who clamored for autographs. The two of them stood sullenly, pressed against the elevators by the crowd. They said only a few words, in between jabbing the elevator call button.
I asked a passing airplane attendant who it was. She said he is "Bo Bo". Who is that? Nobody knows.
My friend Xian said, "Nowadays you can pay people to act like your fan. They'll greet you at the airport with a big sign, 'I LOVE YOU'. It just costs a few hundred chinese yuan per fan. This guy can't be a celebrity, or he wouldn't be wearing a shiny hat. Instead he'd be wearing a baseball cap, pulled low."
View from my desk in the Google Beijing office. I'm working from the office during most of my stay here.
Looking out any window, the eye meets a sea of 30-story buildings. At first I found this very isolating. Any of us could jump out the window, and it would make barely an iota of difference in this dense city.
View from a different window.
Chinese people share my liking for pigs. Our family friend has stickers of pigs in her kitchen, for no good reason.
Sha-mayn took me and other friends to a secluded duck restaurant. This is the bar outside the restaurant.
The restaurant itself. I like this architecture with the wooden ceiling and the skylight.
The waiter carving the duck for the table next to us, with the elegant woman.
Condiments for the duck. I've eaten duck at half my meals here.
A waitress waiting during a lull. I thought this looked very old-world.