Beijing Hutong Rickshaws, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

(Texas Mike here)

Well, the countdown is almost over. The Summer Olympics are about to start, and China can have its calculated re-emergence to the world. But will we be seeing the new and improved China, or just a beauty pageant?

From cleaning up the air (temporarily) to controlling summer weather with rockets, and more notably, hiding it’s neighborhood eye-sores with walls, will the world really see a true China?

This article from the New York Times talks about the massive number of walls recently erected to cover up poverty-stricken neighborhoods and nastiness. I guess it’s easier than cleaning it up, right?

As we traveled Beijing, the locals talked of the trees planted along the highway from the airport, which were meant to hide the shanties from Olympic visiting eyes. I feel lucky to have traveled there and off the beaten path to get a real glimpse of this fascinating culture and contributor to the world. I hope the media exposure to the country over the next few weeks gets past the make-up and smiles too.