This is #3 of 4 on the posts I had written over the weekend but couldn’t get posted because of FTP problems at my hotel …
Some cities have a single striking image from the air, such as Chicago’s Loop (with the Sears Tower and Hancock Building) or downtown Seattle (with the Space Needle). The approach into Beijing, on the other hand, was mile after mile of seemingly endless civilization. The buildings disappeared into the haze, conveying a sense of enormity and mystery, and there was a combination of local structure (tidy uniform rows within each area) and overall chaos that I liked.
The airport was big, modern, and efficiently managed — passport control and customs went very smooth compared to Kiev. Then, right outside baggage claim, I met the driver my friend and colleague Joe Lee had arranged for me. I saw the DOUG MAHUGH sign he was waving, but he already was pointing at me; apparently Joe had forewarned him of my dashing good looks or something.
We went directly from the airport to the Great Wall (I’ll post those photos separately). Here’s a shot during the approach, and my driver in one of the tunnels through the mountains outside the city: