A German reporter from Beijing begins talking about the new highway. 'The mayor of Shanghai said it is like a father buying a big suit for a little boy,' the reporter explains. 'He knows he will grow into it.'
I have been in China for a day, touring General Motors Shanghai and getting an update on GM operations in the country. The automaker, China's largest foreign investor, is anxious to get a share of the market once trade barriers fall as a result of the expected World Trade Organization agreement.
'This place is ready,' I tell my German colleague.
Twenty-four hours later I am on another bus, this time in the northern city of Shenyang. I am on my way to another airport. Here the air is acrid, hazy. The city is dirty and rusty. And the bus is not moving.
I see the cause of the delay: Bridge construction. Drivers in the other two lanes apparently have decided it might be faster for them if they came onto our side. No wonder traffic stands still.
Suddenly I am not so certain China needs any more cars.