Mayor Hugh OReilly has returned from a whirlwind tour of the Far East taking in sights like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and meeting foreign dignitaries.
The 10-day trip was divided in two with stops in Whistlers Sister City Karuizawa in Japan and Beijing, China, home of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The mayor was accompanied by his wife and the municipalitys Information Officer Diana Waltmann.
The first part of the trip in Karuizawa was official business. The mayor was invited there to celebrate the towns 80 th anniversary of incorporation.
During their five-day visit in Karuizawa, a popular tourist destination in Japan and site of Olympic events in 1964 and 1998, there was a typhoon. It was the 10 th one this summer but it didnt dampen the celebrations.
The official trip was followed by a semi-official trip to Beijing, China.
In his sightseeing visits around town the mayor noticed there is a real contrast between east and west in the city.
"It was fascinating to see the construction and the changes occurring," he said.
OReilly met with the Vice Mayor of Beijing Liu Jingman, who is also the executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in 2008.
The mayor said Beijings Olympic organizing committee is giving top priority to the environment and sustainability in planning for the Games. He hopes his visit will open some channels between the two countries in their planning processes.