Into Thick Air, Day 3
The smog on Thursday was like nothing you can even imagine. On the bus ride to the Main Press Center, it was notable that a 30-story building that had been there the day before wasn't there anymore. Gone. Couldn't see it. Maybe a quarter-mile off the road. Gone. I've never seen anything like this before and I once spent an hour in Riverside.
Turns out the much-maligned U.S. cyclists who showed up at the airport wearing surgical masks were the smart ones. A friend went to lunch and said his eyes started to water. The smog was INSIDE the restaurant.
Everybody is writing about this, and I hate to be just another beating drum, but, oh man, Thursday was awful. Good thing nothing of international value or importance is happening around here soon, EXCEPT FOR THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOMORROW!!!
Let's be positive. This is a gathering of nations that the world loves to love, so let's hope the wind blows hard tonight. Or they postpone this -- until 2028.
On a more positive note, it is impressive how few Chinese people are fat. I have watched carefully, looked hard for some. And there are about 500,000 people on each main street, everyday, so I should be able to find one. So far, zero, zilch. Maybe they shipped them out with the homeless and the beggars. Or maybe there just aren't any.
I find it unfair. A person travels nearly 7,000 miles and he can't even find one kindred spirit. I'll guess I'll just hang around with the German photographers.
Mostly, this represents yet another failure of corporate America. McDonald's has to work harder. So does KFC. You name the sources of fat, we got it.
But no. A billion Chinese, walking around, all thin and trim. Think about their life spans.
Oops. Forgot about the smog.
-- Bill Dwyre
Photo: Chinese paramilitary police man a post underneath a McDonald's umbrella near the Bird's Nest on July 26. Credit: Frederic C. Brown/AFP/Getty Images