As we've told you--CNBC's Carl Quintanilla was part of the crew covering the just ended American-Chinese economic talks in Beijing. His reports appeared on "Squawk Box" (see our earlier post today). Here are his personal and behind the scene comments on the trip.
If you're a fan of big cities, you're a fan of Beijing. CNBC Washington Bureau News Director Matt Cuddy and I have spent four days in the Chinese capital and -- being from New York -- I think it's as vibrant and energetic as any big, American city. The subways, for instance, are crowded but efficient. Last night, we were running some tape of an interview with U.S. Trade Ambassador Susan Schwab from the Grand Hyatt Hotel back to the NBC News bureau. A trip that would have taken us 30 minutes by cab took us only 10 by train -- just like rush hour in midtown Manhattan.
It's not all good, of course. China lays claim to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world -- and Beijing is a prime example. The smog never seems to lift, which means it's tough to see farther than a mile or two down the skyline. There is construction EVERYWHERE. Yellow cranes seem to crop up every few blocks, along with small armies of men in yellow construction hats, smoking cigarettes and creating sparks with their welding equipment.
Many of the locals here resent that. They say the government has ruined much of the city's historic architecture in order to make way for new high-rises. Everywhere, it seems, giant posters advertise the phone numbers of new apartment and business complexes.