Spic and Span

I was out this afternoon with some Chinese friends and they asked me if I noticed any changes in Beijing since I left 6 weeks ago.  Oh my goodness, yes!  We were all noticing how neat and tidy and spic and span everything is.  The flowers are in place; the lawns are manicured; every building seems to have a fresh coat of paint—it’s almost like the city is brand new out of the box.  And everything has looked especially nice the past couple of days, thanks to the brilliant blue sky.  Following is a short list of some of the changes that I’ve noticed in the 3 days that I’ve been back (not in any particular order):

  • Police checkpoints along the ring roads
  • Brightly colored banners hanging from light poles along major thoroughfares
  • New “Panama Jack” hats for the security guards at my housing complex (what’s up with that?)
  • No more plastic bags in the supermarket (banned on June 1 — bring your own cloth bag, please)
  • No more of the throw-away tabs on Pepsi cans!  Major progress!!
  • No outdoor seating at my favorite restaurant
  • Olympic Volunteer booths near many subway stops with eager-beaver volunteers ready to pounce

But one thing has not changed–the Beijing males’ preferred method of keeping cool on a 100 degree afternoon:
DSC_0034_edited-1 (Small)