Monday, September 17, 2007

Let 10,000 Hotel Rooms Bloom

Warm again after a period of fallish coolth. Mainly that means that mosquitoes are on the hunt again. After few mosquitoes most of this summer, they suddenly turned out in great numbers in late August, swooping in for blood.

Recently I've written an article about the Beijing hotel market, for the purposes of which I had to interview someone in Beijing and also a fellow in Singapore who knows that market. The upshot is that a lot of hotel rooms will open this year and next, to accommodate visitors to the 2008 Olympics. A lot means about 10,000 new rooms by the time the Games open.

Which happens to be on August 8 next year: 8/8/08 at 8:08:08 p.m. Eight happens to be a very auspicious number in Chinese superstition, to the point of Chinese angling for license plates with 8s on them as protection against the carnage on the roads of China. I have to wonder, though, if anyone has tabulated the number of traffic fatalities in cars with 8s on their plates compared with every other plate, or with the dreaded 4 -- the death number. No, I didn't think so.

The Japanese borrowed these number beliefs, too. Near when I used to live in Osaka was a parking lot with numbered spaces. None of the spaces included the numeral four. 1, 2, 3, 5... 11, 12, 13, 15 etc. No problems with 13, however, including 13th building floors. Yuriko still thinks it odd that anyone would consider 6 or 13 or 666 evil numbers.

Anyway, my suggested title for the article about the Beijing hotel market was "Let 10,000 Hotel Rooms Bloom." The editor didn't go for it.

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