Friday, 17 February 2012

Winter in Beijing

market sales woman
Arriving on a winter day in Beijing, you either see a thick yellowish grey sky and the air smells strange - or a striking blue sky with a very bright sun. What you won't see is anything green. The trees are bold, not a single leave, and no grass on the ground, just earthy sand. Like in the dessert, that is not far from Beijing. There is seldom snow in Beijing winters. Close to the dessert there is seldom rainfall after all.

When I arrived at Beijing airport, as soon as I have left the plane, I could smell Beijing air - the bad one, that you have on these yellowish days, especially in winter, when they burn coal for heating, when the smog limits the sight. I saw these brownish sandy grounds as far as I could see, and the bold grey trees.

That's Beijing in winter. It's dusty and cold. And I like it! It's this special charm that you don't find in other countries.

But the more charming winter sights in Beijing are the frozen lakes. So was the canal in North Sanlitun that goes past the Lufthansa Centre. 

lonely fisher at the frozen canal in Sanlitun, Beijing

Beijing luckily has many sunny winter days that make look the dusty city very friendly. If you dress warm - like going for skiing - you can enjoy some outdoor activities.

ice skating Chinese style on frozen Hohai lake

Ice skaters can have fun in Ritan Park and around Hohai Lake. There are those skating chairs and bikes for rent that are typical for Beijing winters. It is real fun for everybody.


xzhou said...

Good to see something cheerful in the dreadful smog!

Take care (and wear a mask)!

- Suzie - said...

If you live in Beijing, you do not like the smog, of course, especially the one in winter, and especially the smell of burned that is worse in Shunyi than downtown.

But when having lived in Beijing and coming back after a long time, you - unexpectedly - feel home with the dusty, cold and dry winter. Even the smell is familiar and reminds you of an exciting past when exploring this city.

But it is also the dreadful smog and the uncertainty of food quality that makes it easy for expats to leave Beijing again after 3, 5 or 7 years and breath some more healthy air somewhere else.

However, most of them return since they miss China - like me. Be it just for a short visit or another assignment.


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