China's ancient history is a strong selling point for tourists from around the world. And for many visitors, the upcoming Olympic Games are adding a new dimension to China's appeal, as the country modernizes.
Du Dawei is what American David Tool calls himself. The 65 year-old earns his living as a university English teacher. His students' enthusiasm for learning English has inspired him to teach English in his spare time to elderly and others involved with the Olympics for free.
In recent years there has been a rapid increase in the number of Chinese who can speak English, and Tool says dramatic changes are also happening in Beijing as the Olympics get closer.
Tool said, "One of my friends visits me every year. He said if he encounters a problem in the street, more Chinese now voluntarily offer to help him. And I said that's great!"
Tool enjoys his life here, and likes to get close to local people. Recently, he has noticed some surprising changes. One thing he noticed is "queuing day". Tool says there is better order in public places now. And he says there are more facilities for disabled people, such as raised pathways for the blind in subway stations and specially reserved seats.
Tool said, "In Beihai park, there used to be no special path for wheelchairs. But now it's different, wheelchairs can go there. I am so happy about that."
David said the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics have injected new energy and vitality into the ancient city.
"After the Olympics, we should also carry on what we've achieved. So the Olympics provide a golden opportunity for all the positive changes here. Beijing has improved a lot in the past six years I've been living here."said Tool.
Tool says Beijing's ancient history is what fascinates foreigners like him. And he believes the city will be even more beautiful and attractive after the Olympics.