BEIJING -- Truly, truly gloomy day out. Smog blanket drizzle day of packing and organization. The next post will be written on an airplane, and posted in Washington, D.C.
Housekeeping on the blog, which has an expiration date of Nov. 24, Thanksgiving. That's been the plan throughout. Some people blog as sitcom, some blog as melodrama, and I do mini-series. The blog I did last year on the '04 campaign was successful because it followed the Powell Doctrine: Clear objectives, overwhelming force, and an exit strategy. The blog I tried after the election was more like Bush in Iraq. So I started this thing with several specific goals. The goals have been met, bringing light to the end of the tunnel.
Next week still brings pertinent information. The other members of my fellowship program will be presenting their own work and I'll be debriefing my own. Also, all news articles generated by my journey will be posted on this blog as they're published -- my series is planned for mid-December. In other words, there's reason to hang on to this site a few more days. Thank you for your patience.
As it turned out, Karl Zhao was not my last interview in China. Yesterday I got a last-minute opportunity to speak with the marketing head of Deer Jet, China's largest charter-jet operation. The interview was facilitated with the assistance of Jason Liao from Raytheon, who has by far been the best person in China to work with on this project. Several key interviews in this project would not have happened were it not for his persistence. I like to think his graciousness has to do with his great respect for my skill, but I know better. Liao lived in Wichita in the 1990s, and holds the Eagle in high regard. It's Wichita's guanxi, not mine, that has helped me through this odyssey. Thanks.
A valedictory: Through twists and turns, I got what I came for. Sometimes I had to substitute B for A, and the travel itinerary got a bit odd toward the end, but that's to be expected in a trip to China, especially a first-time trip. Saw a lot, did a lot, thought a lot. Did some things suprisingly well, deeply disappointed myself at other times. But it worked out, as experiences often do.
Flight leaves tomorrow, early afternoon. Not much planned between now and then. President Bush arrives in the middle of the night to stay in a hotel a few blocks away from me. Traffic is all backed up due to closure of the Third Ring Road, and the main public mood is curiosity more than anything else. Once again, stories play differently depending on the vantage point from which you view them. The big story in America is, "Bush goes to church," but one Chinese person, when asked his opinion about that by Linjun, Knight Ridder's translator, asked in return, "Is Bush a Christian?" He was surprised to find out the President Bush believes in God -- Christians are rare in China, so they must be rare in America, right? And it's not like he's captivated by the activities of the American religious right.
Bush's visit is the "important" story, but the anecdotes are the truly interesting stories, I think. But someone else will be writing them, as sadly, I really must be going. The fellowship requires my return date to be strictly followed. Journalism in China will have to go on without me. I'm going to meet with a student discussion group I wrote about earlier ("Parklife" was the entry, I think), and I'm going to a documentary this evening. Nice to relax, once the goals have been met.
And oh yeah. Speaking of goals. I almost ran out of time, but I did manage one final, vital objective last night: My Asian karaoke debut. Linjun got a group together, and we went to this place called Tango. At first I thought they were just humoring me -- until people started singing and I realized I was in the presence of pro-level talent. I think I mostly did OK, but you can be the judge of that. Clip is here. Download denver1.wmv
See ya in the states.