I am walking along a a small street beside our Beijing hotel in the smoggy gray-green early morning hours just after dawn, listening to an old Jean Shepherd program from the 1960s on my MP3 player. The street leads to a university campus and a few students are already heading for class. A woman in a coolie hat and blue smock is sweeping the gutter with a broom made of twigs. I step aside to avoid an oncoming middle-aged man on a bicycle. He is wearing a business suit, his wife is sitting on the crossbar and his small daughter is in a child’s seat over the rear wheel.
In my ear buds, Shep is describing a trip to Dublin. He says when traveling, he reverses his normal night routine and gets up early because a city is most interesting as it wakes up. Yes! Alone on the street, I give a fist pump.