Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beijing - 7 June 2008

**This is a never-before-published journal entry from June 2008.

Well, 24 hrs in Beijing and I've already managed to have more than a
few near-death experience. For some reason they don't have crosswalks
(at least in this part of the city) and the Chinese nonchalantly
saunter across the 6 lane highway in front of our hotel. The
vehicules roll at about 60-65 mph and do not slow down for
pedestrians, bikes, rickshaws, or anything else that might be in the
way. It is therefore "every man for himself."

Having come from Australia, the time difference is only 1 hr and I
managed to escape jetlag.  So upon our arrival at the hotel yesterday
afternoon, while everyone else was feeling groggy and exhausted in
their rooms, I set out on a little adventure (which turned out to be a
HUGE adventure) to the shopping mall across the street/ 6 lane hwy w/
no crsswalk.  I found myself on the median clinging to a little older
Chinese man, begging him to help me get across, as a city bus came by,
running over the tips of my sandals.
Once I got over I walked around the plaza and was taking pictures,
when this little tan car pulls up.  All together the windows roll down
to reveal a family.  The guy leans out yelling, " Helloo, Helloo" as
they all wave eagerly.  I returned their greetings, only to find him
saying, "OK, goodbye." And they drove off.

As my flight was landing at the Beijing Capital Airport, the captain
announced 19 degrees C, clear skies.  I didn't understand at first,
because there was a most prominent fog lurking about.  I decided it
must just be the morning fog and they're expecting it to burn off,
leaving us with clear skies.  At about four pm, when the fog still
hadn't gone- I realized it's'
SMOG, not fog.  They don't know what clear skies are here.  And
further more, I feel like I've been stuck in a smoky room all day. The
humidity only makes it worse.


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