Tag Archives: pollution

Back to Beijing

28 Nov

I haven’t been in Beijing for about six months and recently had the opportunity to go back for work twice in the last month.  The first time I went I had heard that the pollution was bad, but I hadn’t realized just how bad until I landed.

Getting in to the car I immediately sensed a strange taste in my mouth.  It was as if a little bit of dirt had gotten into it.  I didn’t notice it at first, but even after a drink of water the taste just wouldn’t go away.  The visitor who I was accompanying took it pretty hard and I knew in his mind, Shanghai was a better city.  It’s funny how the pollution can change your view.

A perfect cup of tea - and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

A perfect cup of tea – and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

Because it was his first trip though, I was able to revisit some of my favorite places in Beijing – Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  Even with the gray skies, I still had a good trip.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao – note the gray sky

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City - I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it.  One of my favorite photos recently.

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City – I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it. One of my favorite photos recently.

My more recent visit the situation was flipped – Shanghai has had high PMI 2.5 levels for the last week and Beijing was clearer.  I flew in the evening and I picked up the most beautiful sunset out of the window as I skimmed across the sky.

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

I’m happy I’ve made it back to Beijing.  It is a completely different city depending on the weather.  What places fall into that category for you and what times of year should be avoided?

Breathing easy?

2 Dec

When my mother visited China several years ago she said she thought that she could live here, except for the pollution.  I know that Shanghai is better than Beijing, but there are still days here where if I really thought about it, I wouldn’t go outside.  I also have developed an obsession with blue sky days over the last five years as you’ve probably noticed from the photos that I post.

That said inside the house or office there are still things to be scared of.

Over a year ago I wrote that the office building where I work was under construction.  It is still under construction and is an absolute mess. The elevators are periodically closed, one of the temporary entrances is the freight entrance where they store garbage and no matter where you are in the building the smell in the office is terrible.

Sometimes there is a smell of paint or paint thinner, sometimes it smells like something is on fire, sometimes smells from people smoking in the stairwell.  The smells change by day – some days are ok, others really disgusting.

It has gotten so bad that we have given the team the option to work from home – assuming they don’t have meetings.  However, this time of year (our busy season) there are meetings just about every day so it is not really a realistic option.  I really respect my coworkers and their coping mechanism has been to buy face masks and wear them in the office.   Last week I finally bought one as well.

3M may have a captive market!

3M may have a captive market!

I’ve worn it several times, though can’t do conference calls with it as it muffles my voice and doing meetings where half the folks are wearing a mask is still weird.  The hour or so in the morning when I’m alone though – the mask is there and I believe it makes a difference!  I’m not sure if it is the placebo effect or not, but at this point I really don’t care.

As I’ve dealt with this issue over the last few months it has made me angry and it also makes me sad.  Anger that a building management company could be so incompetent and careless about the people inside the building and sad that my coworkers and I really don’t have much other choice.  It is a microcosm of the larger issues in China about quality and construction and whether people are most important or the bottom line.

My new accessory

My new accessory

Our office is looking for another building, but the way contracts go, that will likely be another year.  For the time being – I’m wearing my mask and trying to breathe easy.

What do you think?

Enjoying now

Today is a present

The Mad Woman in the Attic

stories of a serial expat and solo traveller

Marta lives in China

Real life in China

Crazy Chinese Family

My crazy Chinese Family I married into...

Writing Between the Lines

Life From a Writer's POV

A Kick In The Butt

Advice on all things FITNESS by Personal Trainer Ariana Dane

Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life: passionate about food & wine | random moments | and travel