It's getting to the point where I need a few minutes when I wake up to remember where I am. Over the span of 9 days, starting last Sunday, I will have travelled around the world, making stops in Beijing, London and DC, and racking up over 30,000 frequent flyer miles in the process. I probably spend more time in the air than most flight crews. Don't get me wrong there is a lot that's good about it. At a (relatively) young age I have seen a great deal of the world, at a cost that is heavily subsidized by my company since so much of it is business-related travel. But on the personal side it takes a heavy toll to spend about 50% of your time living in various hotels.
Beijing was an interesting trip. It was my second time in China, but first in Beijing and first with any real time to spend doing tourist things. My schedule worked out so that I could take a 4 day weekend while I was over there, and a good friend who's living in Beijing let me stay at his apartment for the weekend and took me out to see the city. It's an interesting city to see the mixture of old and new architecture, and interesting to see the rate of growth and construction, which I'm sure is also being driven by the Olympics next year. Construction crews literally work 24/7 - there was a crew outside my friend's apartment putting in a road/sidewalk. One night I went to sleep and literally woke up the next morning to see it completely finished. There is a bit of another side though. My friend's roommate teaches English to a local man's daughter. The man has a little corner store, and recently the government came in and said they were going to demolish the store. No due process, no compensation, nothing he could do. It really reminded me that as much as a great story China is economically, on the political side it is a very different system to what we have (and often take for granted) in the west.
Once I get home I'll see if I can post a few pictures from the Great Wall and Forbidden City.