By Donnell Gavin

BEIJING, China, 7:54 p.m. — As of last night, I concluded my stay in Beijing and took an overnight train to Shanghai. Overall, my reflections on the city are first and foremost that they have accomplished the desired goal of making foreigners see the city as “modern” (though to some degree, this means less of the nostalgic tourist culture that I’m used to) and that I secretly care more about the Olympics than I realized (indoor cycling being perhaps the most surprisingly enjoyable event). Still, for many reasons (least of which not knowing Chinese or enough about Chinese history to appreciate the historic sites whose explanatory plaques were perhaps vaguer than strictly necessary), I could never imagine myself becoming one of the many Sinophiles who drops everything and moves to China (many among them Yalies, of course).

Also, in my excitement, I forgot to mention we saw Michael Phelps at China Doll. My cohorts swooned — I don’t get it.