Saturday, September 16, 2006

Led Zeppelin

So I'm sitting on the balcony of the 20th floor of my Shenzhen digs at about 4:50 on a slow Saturday afternoon doing some email business and look up and out randomly to the horizon to see....the frigging - yes, the Goodyear blimp gliding and bumping (slightly, there's some wind) across the smog and phlegm choked northern horizon.

I thought for a moment it was either an optical delusion or maybe some kind of slo-mo Luddite version of a 911 attack or perhaps a US-Sino joint venture reenactment of the Hindenberg inferno, when, for a moment, when it appeared that due to my skewed optical perspective that the Spirit of America might collide with the mammoth ZTE tower about a mile away.

(We pause now for a commercial break: "ZTE, China's largest telecommunications supplier. We'll wire your world ... particularly if you'll overlook paying for slave and convict labor!")

But why is the Goodyear blimp here? I'm almost wondering if I did really see it. It was as nearly as tantalizing as a UFO sighting. So weird. So very, very weird.
Yup.....I saw it too....not surewhich isarer that or all the nice clouds in the sky...
You all could almost taste the cold beer and brauts while imagining yourselves at the football stadium back home, couldn't you.
My colleagues insist that they see the blimp every day, but somehow I always miss it.
Shortly after I left SZ in late May, my family had a very exciting GYBlimp sighting in our backyard of Granite City, IL, USA. Oh, how that lovely blimp unites the whole globe in its loving, rubbery embrace!
I saw it, too, and further west (we were driving at the time) there was yet ANOTHER blimp. This one with Chinese advertising on it. What's happening to our isolated kingdom?
Yeah, I saw the other one too, later that night over Window of the World.
By the way, I talked to Goodyear this week and wrote a story about it for Saturday's Standard.
The blimp debuted in China in Guangzhou earlier in the month and is here for about 5 or 6 weeks being flown through select airspace in Guangdong province as part of a push to hype the Goodyear brand and sell tires.
It took Goodyear 6 mos to get through the Chinese red tape to be able to fly it.
And it's floating back to Shenzhen tomorrow (Saturday, 23rd). You can bet I'll be looking for it.
I'm very happy to see that the magic of blimps extends to China. Today there is a Goodyear blimp in Shenzhen, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Los Angeles, California; Jefferson, Iowa; and Miami, Fl. You can bet there are brats, beer and football at some of those spots. Signed: BlimpCommander
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