Excerpts from Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler, published 2007 by Harper Perennial:
The Foreign Journalists met at the Shangri-La Hotel, where the government provided special buses to take us to Tsinghua. I found a seat behind two members of the State Department press corps. Like most of the Washington reporters, they were white men with short hair and dark suits. They talked constantly about politics and journalism. Eavesdropping was easy because they ignored anybody who was not a member of the State Department press corps.
"Powell's a smart guy."
"I always think of him as the adult supervision of the administration."
"I don't think he has a Kissingerian sense of the big picture, though."
It was 8:25 in the morning and the bus idled out in front of the Shangri-La. We had been scheduled to leave a eight.
"Bush's view comes from Marvel comics. Evil one, evil leader. But Powell looks at the whole thing holistically."
"Bush wants to make sure that everybody is --- like us, basically."
"If you look at who's actually killing people, I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. I'm worried about Colonel Sanders, the Bud Man, and the Marlboro Man." ...
. . . . . . . .
... At exactly 8:38 the bus pulled away from the Shangri-La.
"I think journalists underrate Mr. Bush because they value minds like their own."
"I covered Gore for a year --- you could diagram his sentences and teach English from them. But I could never understand what he was saying. Once they asked a question about domed stadiums. Gore said a paragraph: the Astrodome was the first dome, the Kingdome is the largest enclosed space --- all this kind of stuff. Then Bush said, 'I like to watch baseball outdoors.' Who's smarter?" ...