Sunday, November 06, 2005


Beijing's air is realtively breatheable today, thanks to the immense winds we had last night. It was getting pretty gusty when we went for dinner to Lush in Wudaokou, the wind even tore a 1 Yuan note out of Alex's grip and sent it hurtling down the street! The two were never reunited.

I am especially glad that there were such strong winds last night because yestrday's pollution was so awful. It was a real pea-souper, with visibility very limited. The sun appeared as a pale disk in the sky, and did not hurt at all to look at (not that I endorse looking at the sun at all - don't do it children! :p ). After the photo above was taken (3.30ish pm, Jishuitan Tube Station), the situation got worse, and visibiltiy fell even more. After it turned dark, the winds picked up and the smog dispersed. But where did it go? Ah well, not our problem any more...just some poor Anhui province peasant's problem when all his donkeys and sheep develop respiratory diseases and die.

Being in need of some creature comforts, the need having been brought on by the pollution, the thousands of mannerless Chinese peasants that seem to have flooded the underground system, the traffic (etc. etc.), Melissa and I went to Wanfujin to get her a new novel and let me browse around a couple of camera shops. However, on running inside the Malls at Oriental Plaza (their catchy name, not mine) to escape the pollution we were shocked to find that the smog had beaten us to it. Despite the conditioned air, the grey haze could still be seen floating up and down the walkways between the shops. It was ghastly! Fortified by a cup of Starbucks (yes I know, poor show....), we pressed on and completed our mission; though my camera browsing was cut short due to the fact that we couldn't bear contemplating a walk along Chang An Jie to find another shop. Well, you would have thought so too with the weather as it was (see pic)!

Today we took advantage fo the clear air and strolled around the Hutong around Houhai, Qianhai and that area. We wanted to visit Prince Gong's Palace, but found it's shut until Feb. next year :( Still, I took lots of pictures as the light was pretty good for Beijing!

On another pollutive note, when I returned home from my walk, I found quite a few small coal smuts on my windowsill (and all over my books and calligraphy that were lying there!). It seems that the winter heating season is starting up again, and the centralised central heating boilers are warming up for the big chill. Which means blacker windowsills and greyer snow for us all :D


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