High-speed trains and Buicks - more alike than we realize.

Two stories regarding China once again caught my eye. Funny how that happens after a visit when you fall under the spell of a place, isn't it?

First up, the high speed rail system between Beijing and Shanghai is supposedly all good to go once again. Whether or not anything has been re-engineered following the collision that killed 43 people back in July is an open question. For a nation that plans to build thousands of miles of new high-speed track by 2015, getting that system back on track has to be a nerve-wracking story for a whole lot of people.

Secondly, the explosion in car sales in China is unavoidable if you just look around the streets there. Oops, maybe that's a crude word choice to follow up a train crash story. Still, the Chinese love their cars. And they also apparently love to categorize those newly-coveted cars. A Mercedes, apparently, equals an old fart. An Audi means "bureaucrat", so just get the hell out of the way if you see one. I'm sure there are others - the handful of ridiculous Lotuses and Lambourghinis I saw speeding around the cities certainly indicate a very particular kind dickish customer. But where I was surprised in this piece was in the news that one of the hottest luxury car lines in China is actually the Buick - the oldest American car maker, and one that's recently even been dissed by GM's execs. Nevermind that Buick is also partly the namesake (derived from a favorite Midwestern cliche') of my prior blog. Buick's back, baby. At least on the streets of Beijing. I don't know why, but that makes me happy.