Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On tour with NBC crew

I've just returned from an evening at the St. Regis Hotel. Again, surrendipity reigns! This is the first-class hotel where the NBC crew is parked for the next two weeks, staying in the comfort of fine lodgings that usually serves diplomats, given its close proximity to the Embassy district. The Celestial Court Chinese restaurant is closed for business. It's taken over by desks equipped with high-speed, Internet-connected personal computers. That's a rarity in Beijing, I've found. So many people are onlline here now at the same time that bandwidth is strained. Forget about accessing videos. Facebook is painfully slow to open, too, and sometimes not accessible. Twitter, still, is OK. Anyhow, I didn't spot Matt Lauer at the St. Regis, but would have liked to say hi -- he is a graduate of Ohio University, like me. He was at the Olympic Village, along with thousands of other journalists.
What I find remarkable is how deserted the city is -- and how wonderful it is this way. Let the alternate day-of-the-week driving restrictions remain in place. Let people take the new subway lines, like I have. See how comfortable they are! Sure beats the no. 6 line in Manhattan.