I studied Chinese at university many a moon ago. I enjoyed it in the first year, but in the second they wanted me to study classical literature and things I didn't really care about. I just wanted to do the language, so I didn't take it again.
I always wanted to go to Beijing. I'd love to see all the wonderful buildings and I'd love to see Mao in his tomb as well! I was jealous when my colleagues at work got to go to Beijing for the Olympics, while I had to stay home, but what can you do? In my case, nothing!
I was in Hong Kong and in China (for one day) shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre. In Hong Kong there were protests going on and a lot of anger. People knew what was happening and were desperately trying to make their voices heard. The minute I crossed the border it was all about ignorance. No one knew anything, or at least claimed that they didn't. It was sad and really taught me a lot about how information is power.
The internet has really helped in a lot of ways by allowing information to spread despite the efforts of those in authority who would have it otherwise. At the same time horribly incorrect information also spreads quickly and it's important for people to double check everything they hear. I find this seldom happens.
I like duck. I think I'd like to have Peking Duck someday.