In Beijing with Jim Blue

NBC24 News anchor Jim Blue is traveling in China this week with his family. From time to time, Jim is sending back video postcards of his trip. He is now in Beijing, the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Here is Jim's first report. As we arrived, the sky was tinged a brownish-orange. We had been told to expect lung-burning pollution, so we prepared for the worst. On our taxi ride into the city we saw one source of the smog: motorized traffic - every kind from luxury cars to diesel trucks to mopeds. Beijing is a city on a mission: to be prepared for millions of visitors for the 2008 summer games. We found workers preparing the subway turnstiles for new, modern electronic ticketing. Near the Olympic Village, landscapers were planting flowers and grass. Near the stadiums, a kind of Disney World version of Chinese culture has been erected. The five Olympic mascot creatures are ever present. And within yards of the entrance there was an Olympic car wash. Strangely, it was the only place I was ordered not to take pictures. Just a day later, the dust blowing in from the desert was replaced with blue skies. There is nothing forbidding about the Forbidden City, part of China's real history - not manufactured for the Olympics. For all the tourism hype, Beijing's people seem truly friendly. Everywhere Americans are greeted with a "hello" and a smile.