Sunday, June 29, 2008


"It never rains in Beijing."
I tell this to all my guests. First with Devon it was a storm as we walked through Factory 798. The walkways were all being repaved with tasteful brickwork, and the half-made streets became sludgy labyrinths.
Then with my pop it was a shattering downpour as we came home from the airport, slowing traffic to a crawl.
Finally with Sara's family it was rain day and night, staining our feet through our shoes and covering the city with a dense mist.

I know what is happening, I've seen soldiers in the street taking chainsaws to the aluminum frames of my favorite food booths. The paint from our apartment building is steadily seeping off.

Ripped up and re-done every few days, Beijing was a city in the throes of a dream, and as each family showed up to remind me of home that dream has gotten paler, thinner, and noticably soggy.

When the plane takes off in 36 hours, it will start with dry lightning in every corner of the sky. A few minutes later the rain will start, and it won't stop until every shiny new brick and smoothly laid tarmac has dissolved like cotton candy in the sink. When I come back in one year or two or ten the city I knew will be gone.

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