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CHANGING CURRENTS
REFLECTIONS
The MEDIUM, the MESSAGE and the SAUSAGE DOG
CYCLING TO XANADU
THE CHINESE DREAM
CHINESE NEW YEAR ADS
BIG IDEAS FROM BEYOND THE WALL
ANYONE FOR TENNIS?
VIEWS FROM ABOARD THE CHINA EXPRESS:
1 Zola and Retail Marketing
2 Playing the Waiting Game
3 Beware the Ides of March
4 The county not on a map
5 Chinese Chess in Beijing
6 Build it and They'll Come
7 Riding the Water Dragon
8 The Best of Both Worlds
9 Storming the Great Wall
10 Welcome to the Wangba
11 The Catcher in the Rice
12 The Marriage Business
13 The Crouching Dragon
14 Counting the Numbers
15 A Century of Migration
16 Shooting for the Stars
17 Rise of Yorkshire Puds
18 Harry Potter in Beijing
19 Standing Out in China
20 Self-pandactualisation
21 Strolling on the Moon
22 Tea with the Brothers
23 Animated Guangzhou
24 Trouble on the Farms
25 Christmas in Haerbin
26 Dave pops into Tesco
27 A Breath of Fresh Air
28 The Boys from Brazil
29 Rolls-Royce on a roll
30 The Great Exhibition
31 Spreading the Word
32 On Top of the World
33 Moonlight Madness
34 Beijing's Wild West
35 Avatar vs Confucius
36 Brand Ambassadors
37 Inspiring Adventure
38 China's Sweet Spot
39 Spinning the Wheel
40 Winter Wonderland
41 The End of the Sky
42 Ticket to Ride High
43 Turning the Corner
44 Trouble in Toytown
45 Watch with Mother
46 Red-crowned Alert
47 In a Barbie World
48 Domestic Arrivals
49 Tale of Two Taxis
50 Land of Extremes
51 Of 'Mice' and Men
52 Tour of the South
53 Brooding Clouds?
54 The Nabang Test
55 Guanxi Building
56 Apple Blossoms
57 New Romantics
58 The Rose Seller
59 Rural Shanghai
60 Forbidden Fruit
61 Exotic Flavours
62 Picking up Pace
63 New Year, 2008
64 Shedding Tiers
65 Olympic Prince
66 London Calling
67 A Soulful Song
68 Paradise Lost?
69 Brandopolises
70 Red, red wine
71 Finding Nemo
72 Rogue Dealer
73 Juicy Carrots
74 Bad Air Days
75 Golden Week
76 Master Class
77 Noodle Wars
78 Yes We Can!
79 Mr Blue Sky
80 Keep Riding
81 Wise Words
82 Hair Today
83 Easy Rider
84 Aftershock
85 Bread vans
86 Pick a card
87 The 60th
88 Ox Tales
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Winter Wonderland

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"Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice.

It was one of those magical days.  The 5 inches of snow that fell last night has transformed the Chaoyang district of Beijing.  The grey dust that coated the buildings, trees, roads, everything, has been air-brushed by the thickest blanket of powdery snow I've ever seen in Beijing. 


  Any thoughts of spending the day tapping the keyboard of a computer were quickly hijacked by an irresistible urge to go to the biggest and best open space in central Beijing, Chaoyang Park.   Usually, it takes no more than 20 minutes to drive there; this morning it took just over one hour.   But it was worth the effort.

 

  I wandered around chatting to anyone who wanted to chat and taking photos of people at play. 


  Three chefs had just finished building a snowman.  


  "Where are your customers today?" I joked.  

 

  "No one will come today," the head cook said with a chuckle, as he added the finishing touches to a snowman that was almost as tall as him. 

 

  I could make out that he had buttons made of sliced carrots;  carrot-top ears, a bamboo hat, and an eggshell nose.  But there was one facial feature that had me guessing... 


  "What are its eyes made of?" I asked. 


  "Aubergines of course!" shouted out the junior chef who was standing behind me.


  The head chef smoothed out the chin and then stood back to admire his creation. "There, you can now take a photo of it if you want". 


  The head chef was right.  There would be no customers today.  The park, which on any normal day has many thousands of visitors, held three chefs, a mum and her three year-old daughter, two students, a few hardy older ladies, and a dozen or so park workers, some of whom were trying without much success to knock the snow off the tops of conifer trees long witches' brooms. Funnily enough, they were indeed wearing pointy hats. 

 

  I didn't see any tangerine trees and marmalade skies, but I did blink twice when I saw what I can only describe as a Noddy car, doing doughnuts in the deep snow.

 

  "Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice.


  As I turned the corner, I spotted two more people.  A photographer and her model, who was dressed in a full-length white woolly coat, opened to reveal a white frilly blouse; and a knee-length white skirt that almost touched the tops of her extra-long leather boots - white of course.

 

  The photographer, a woman from Henan province, told me that the two of them had come here to find work, and that she thought it would be good to get some 'snow shots' for the portfolio she was putting together. 

 

  After spotting a coven of witches, a gourmet snowman, a doughnutting Noddy car, and now Snow White, I wondered what might be the next surreal treat. Teddy bears picknicking in the woods, perhaps?  

 

  Whatever it is; when walking or cycling in Beijing, you can always be sure of a big surprise.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall