Chasing Mirages

Tag: beijing

Escaping toxic Beijing

by on Jun.29, 2011, under Posts

The air in Beijing was especially bad the last couple of weeks.  According to the U.S. Embassy’s air quality monitoring station, Beijing’s Air Quality Index was consistently above 200 (unhealthy to very unhealthy) for many days in a row.  I knew the air was bad because I could see it, and Beijing is too dry to be foggy 24/7!

Fortunately, I had an out.  A family friend has a place in 八达岭 (ba da ling), a town northwest of Beijing known for its touristy section of the Great Wall.  A mere hour away from central Beijing, Badaling is a great place to go for some fresh air.

Northern gate of Chadaocun

Even better, Badaling has more to offer than the commercialized, crowded, re-built section of the Great Wall for which it is best known.  My friend who lives out there showed me a quiet, beautiful old village called 岔道村 (cha dao cun) with a history of 450 years and an amazing, largely intact village wall.

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Vegetarian food, organic donkey, tea and Confucius

by on Jun.28, 2011, under Posts

Years ago, when I was in Beijing for my post-bar trip, a friend took me to a teahouse in a beautiful old courtyard home.  There, we planned my trip to Gansu and Qinghai in western China.

I was impressed by how nicely decorated and comfortable the place was, but somehow I hadn’t thought to go back until this last time I was in Beijing.

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____ store in Beijing

by on Jun.03, 2011, under Quickies

Another contest!! First person to post a comment containing the correct translation of the sign circled in red wins an “I ♥ BJ” t-shirt.  And yes, I know that this contest has a cultural bias.

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Beijing’s Toxic Pea Soup

by on Nov.18, 2010, under Quickies

Here’s an update on this story: U.S. Embassy Creates New Air Quality Description for Beijing: Crazy Bad

According to the U.S. Embassy’s air quality monitor in Beijing, Beijing’s Air Quality Index as of 1:00AM on November 18, 2010 is 464.

From: http://iphone.bjair.info/

This is the worst AQI I’ve seen.   Ironically, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and we were both pretty happy about how good the air in Beijing had been the last few weeks, clear enough to see quite a few stars at night.  I’m in Hong Kong now, glad to be out of the toxic air and the cold weather.

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Winner of solar water heater Worst Installation Award

by on Nov.13, 2010, under Quickies

I passed by this solar water heater this morning at about 11 AM.  At first I thought, this is pretty cool, it makes good use of space and doubles as a shade for the window.  But on second glance I decided that it was one of the worst installations I have seen.  Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t show everything, but you should be able to pick out some strangeness:

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