Usually when an area in Beijing is fenced off for destruction, the fencing is covered with huge canvas printed with repeating pictures of greenery: woods, lakes and parks with elderly people in wheelchairs happily being pushed along brick paths by healthy role-model youths, strolling one way down the right side of the picture and then the other way back in mirror image. “No destruction here!” said the facades. “Only beautiful greenery!”
Now as of last week they have all been uniformly replaced by coverings printed with Beijing’s Olympic slogan, brightly decorated in solid rainbow colors. There are so many construction sites and all of the coverings were replaced so quickly that it’s as though the whole city slipped into a new pair of pajamas. It doesn’t seem right that it should remind me so much of pajamas, seeing as Beijing is getting ready for either a party or an important formal occasion rather than tucking off to bed. But I suppose it’s because Beijing reminds me more of a child whose parents brought him down to the dinner party dressed up in a zip-up pajama suit that I should think of it so.