Last night when I went to pick up my friend at the Beijing Airport, three taxis in a row turned me down, which is unheard of. Usually they are ecstatic to get a long ride like that. I was utterly confused. Finally, a driver agred to take me there, and it all became clear: There was a veritable sea of taxis waiting in endless lines for passengers back to the city. In other words, lots of people are leaving the city and precious few are arriving.
I stood in the airport lobby in mild shock: There was almost no one there, maybe 8 or 9 sitting by the arrivals door, no one in the halls. What is usually a circus was an empty field. My friend arrived and told me there were fewer than 30 passengrs on his flight from Tokyo.
I have to be really quick. I am gone from work and now on vacation, so I will have few opportunities to post. I’ll keep trying, at least once a day, but no promises — almost all the Internet cafes in Beijing are closed down. Later tonight I’ll be back….
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.