Friday, August 8, 2008

Dave at the Great Wall

More Dave Barry....

We parked at the base of a mountain, next to the Great Row of Great Wall Souvenir Vendors. As we emerged from the taxi, we were greeted by a chorus of voices shouting the traditional Chinese welcome to foreigners: ``Hello! T-shirt!''

We also wound up meeting a lot of Chinese people, because literally dozens of them wanted to have their pictures taken with our 8-year-old daughter, Sophie. Groups of people would come up to us, point at Sophie, then point at their cameras; then one by one they'd have their pictures taken standing next to Sophie, as if she were Santa Claus or the Washington Monument. I'm still not sure what this is all about, but the same thing has happened to Sophie a number of other times since we got to China. I'm just hoping we'll be allowed to take her home.

AIR POLLUTION UPDATE -- It turns out that I was mistaken: There is no air-pollution problem here. I know this because I read it in China Daily, the official English-language newspaper of the Chinese government. And if we can't trust the Chinese government to be objective about this, who can we trust? For two days in a row, China Daily has run front-page stories stating that the dense yellowish-gray atmospheric glop blotting out the sun is merely ''haze.'' OK? So let us have no more talk about ''air pollution.''

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