City Hall beat reporter Duke Helfand is on the mayor's trade trip to China and blogging about it for the Times website. In the first post we learn that Villaraigosa flew in business class, is staying at the St. Regis in Beijing and that he barked at aides when the luggage didn't arrive on time at the hotel. Helfand is taken with Beijing, apparently: "The Chinese are polite, dutiful and diligent. Twenty-somethings stop me in the Forbidden City, wanting to chat me up in English, wanting me to see their art exhibitions, wanting me to hire them as tour guides. Elsewhere in the city, a young man whispers as I pass by. 'Psst, DVD?'"
Helfand also files a story for the paper on the opening of a Los Angeles tourist office in Beijing and the mayor's visit to the Great Wall.