It does exist here! The day we flew in I was expecting haze, and smog far worse than LA. We exited the airport to find a light breeze, blue sky with little fluffy white clouds, and a clear view of the surrounding city scape. As far as first immpressions go this was first rate.
First observations from the bus were that while things are definetly still under construction here, it looks like the Chinese are well on their way to getting things in order for the Games. There are so many freshly potted trees and plants lining the higway and streets on the route from the airport. Thousands of baby plants are being protected and reinforced by sticks and netting. Just to make sure they make it through their first few months and are still growing come August. Could this be the reason the sky was so clear? All those plants pumping oxygen into the Beijing air has to help....but not enough to make it this nice.
It has been two days since we got here and the air quality has not stayed as pristine as the day we flew in. :( Today in the bus on the way to practice there was 10 times the traffice we experienced yesterday.....Ah! Today is a Monday. Back to work for everyone. Which means the factories were closed two days ago for the weekend and no one was driving. That definetely made a difference in the air. Some are now taking pictures everyday to mark how much worse the air gets every day. I have a feeling by Friday we will not be able to see the building across the street.
2.The Great Wall of China
Is truely impressive. The section we saw was in the Juyongguan Pass. It was about an hour outside of Beijing. We had an hour to climb as far up the steps as we wanted and explore the watch towers situated every so often along the wall. I think a really cool trip would be to back pack and hike the entire length of the wall. But I think the Chinese governement may throw you in jail for such things.
Pictures to follow....I didn't bring the cord to upload them to my computer!