Several people have e’ed me and inquired about how becky is doing at work. the answer is, fine. She has only been going into office for a week and there is a lot to work through. She is about to lose two senior reporters and it will take a little while to get the replacements in place, so the bureau will be short staffed but eventually she will have her own peeps in place.

She wrote a bylined article in today’s paper for the first time in a long time, about pres. Hu’s upcoming visit to the U.S. You can find it int here somewhere.

And a few nights ago, while editing her first front-page story from here, she was more or less up all night, on the phone for the 4 pm afternoon news meeting at 4 am.

Mr. Doh, the driver, is good. Anna asks for him any time we get in a cab. He had some work done on “our” Jeep cherokee, which he very proudly drove out today. We put anna’s seat in and will be using that to take her to school every morning. Good to have her back in a car seat. Most of the cabs here don’t even have seat belts! they actually remove them for god knows what reason. some of them have belts but not buckles, oddly enough.

Things are sort of wild around here in that way. You see flatbed trucks drive by with 10 guys in the bed. the other day in the city we saw a couple on a little motorcycle, the woman holding an infant. You see three people on one bike, kids on handlebars, toddlers in little baskets on the back of bikes. all kinds of stuff like that. and some of the expats def. go pretty native. There was an 8 or 9 year old kid zipping around the compound the other day on his BMX bike barefoot. and when leaving Starbucks yesterday afternoon (my helmet strapped on my head as I got on my bike), a kid on a motor scooter zipped by me heading back to the compound. couldn’t have been more than 14.

Anyhow, we can’t get driver’s licenses until we get our long term visas, which hopefully be soon. then we will start driving, but initially will only do so out here. Driving into the city seems sort of nutty, not least because there don’t seem to be any parking lots. people just park wherever. everyone who can afford one has a driver around here for a reason and it is not just sheer laziness.

we had to have some work done on the Jeep to make it legal to drive inside the fourth ring road (into town). I think it was a catalytic converter. they are really trying to cut down on air pollution here because of the olympics and promises they made in that regard. so our timing is good in that regard. hasn’t been a really bad pollution day since we’ve been here.

I am having trouble posting photos at the moment, so it might have to wait until tomorrow.

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