Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hazy Days are Here

Today the weather forecast was for rain in the evening. But it's past 10pm and not a drop has fallen from the sky.

These last few days it's been very hazy, but not humid enough for it to rain.

Foreigners and locals ask me if the haze is because of the pollution or it really is fog. "Perhaps both," I reply, to which I get nods of agreement, confirming their fears.

However, it's also snowing too -- not the cold snowflake kind, but white fluff balls called catkins are falling from the trees around this time to pollinate. There had been talk of somehow biologically preventing the catkins from flying all over the city, but seems like nothing was done about it.

But while they may be nice to look at, they can be a nuisance. As I rode the bus home today, hundreds if not thousands of the white weightless balls flew into the vehicle through the open windows and some small enough to be accidentally inhaled.

Outside it looked like snow was falling on the streets and maybe these little things are contributing to the grayness of the sky. Or maybe it really is pollution -- from the sand storms.

Every few days I have wipe down my coffee table at home and the white surface is covered in a thin layer of yellow dust.

Friends who came through the capital recently told me that while they were impressed with the Bird's Nest, they were disappointed to find the architectural marvel wasn't well kept, and was covered in dust, a fading shadow of its former glory from almost a year ago.

Please make it rain... Beijing needs a good thorough rinse and now's a good time as any.

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