Semi-Vacation Day : Chengdu Diary Short Changing China's Labor Day Weekend
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Semi-Vacation Day

The Siegel Has Landed: NPR's Anthony Kuhn, left, welcomes ATC Host Robert Siegel to his courtyard. Photo by Alison Klayman hide caption

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Photo by Alison Klayman

Arrived in Beijing at World's Biggest Airline Terminal and was met by a friendly ex-ATC intern Alison Klayman, now working in Beijing. The city, of course, is huge and I am puzzled as to whether the traffic is heavy or light for a place with more people than New York. Today, there was no good answer as no one could quite say if this was weekend traffic or workaday traffic.

It seems the Chinese government is experimenting with vacation times, trying to break up big blocks of time when all one point three billion get the day off. So for this year's May 1st holiday, they gave the country Friday off as well as Thursday, but rather than go for broke and have a FOUR Day weekend, they declared Sunday a work day this week.

There may be somewhat less than full compliance. A gut estimate of Beijing traffic volume? Everyone agrees it's bumper-to-bumper compared to ten years ago when private car ownership was a rarity. But, by New York, London, LA or Mexico City standards, this city looks like it's still moving pretty well.