It is a gargantuan, imperial city, and while there is always a walking path the point of walking is not always clear. “The Middle Kingdom does Dubai.” There is no need to tell me about all the parts of the city which do not look like Dubai, I have seen many of them, and furthermore Dubai has such parts as well.
An iPad, plus Baidu access to Chinese characters, makes it easy to ask questions of strangers. Hardly anyone speaks even minimal English. It is less harried than I had expected. The sky rarely appears, at least in late July. The contemporary art district, 798, is worth more than one visit. I am not interested in seeing the Great Wall. My hotel, rather than having a “Medical Devices” conference, has a meeting on “Australian Property Holdings.”
The main problems here are the air pollution, and that no one, including taxi drivers, seems to know how to get anywhere. The rate of change is high and many people are from the provinces, so there is a real information gap.
The main upsides stem from what scale enables. Even if you have been to many places, Beijing will manage to astonish you.
Most of all, I am struck by how Taiwan is more Chinese than is China.