beijing. china

Love Hotel

In the immortal words of Miles Gregory, immaculately voiced by Gwen Dickey:

Love don’t live here anymore
Just emptiness and memories
Of what we had before you went away
Found another place to stay, another home

You abandoned me
Love don’t live here anymore
Just a vacancy, babe
Love don’t live here anymore

btw, if you somehow don’t get the reference (woe unto thee), checkout this link.

Return to Beijing

Yesterday was the fifteenth day of the lunar year, and marked the end of the Spring Festival.

Like most families here, we celebrated by having tāngyuán, and watching fireworks in the evening.

For many people who had left the north capital, it was a day of return… carrying bedding in one hand, and a bag containing clothes and other belongs in the other.

Anhui Tower

Taken with my iPhone five days ago, on what was a beautiful blue-sky day.

Today, unfortunately, is not such a day. The aqi at the US Embassy is at 429 as I write this (the scale tops-out at 500), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets worse over the evening. (One note… the reading at the US Embassy is from just one site in a city with a municipality that is larger in area than Rhode Island… it is great as an indicator, and for historical comparisons, but shouldn’t be used as the definitive guide to Beijing’s air quality.)

During the winter months, steam is produced at plants throughout the city, and then piped to distribution centers, before going into dwellings. Unfortunately, these plants are coal-fired… and I don’t mean the “clean burning” type, either.

In addition, there are (usually poorer) households/communities that don’t get steam, and rely on heat by directly burning coal.

During these grey days, I do as most other Beijing people do: limited outside activity, wear a mask when outside, keep the windows and doors shut tight when at home, and look forward to the next big wind.

That said, I don’t dwell on it. It has been part of life during my eight years here, and is certainly not overshadowed by other things that I think make Beijing a wonderful place to live.