One of the biggest headlines out of China in recent weeks has been Beijing’s “airpocalypse“. It’s heartbreaking when people can’t even take clean air for granted. Here’s a sensationalistic report about a correlation between childhood air quality and intelligence. Will Beijingers (and much of China) soon be plagued with a generation of even greater idiocy?
Through the years there have been several attempts to establish a public bike rental system in Beijing. They’ve all been abject failures. I haven’t investigated why they failed, nor did I ever use them.
When I was last in Beijing in May, I noticed that new docking stations for public bikes were popping up, and today I saw one that had some shiny new bikes docked.
Food safety has been a huge issue in China in recent years, and wealthy urban dwellers are starting to scramble for food that will not render them sterile or cancerous. Little Donkey Farm capitalizes on this fear by giving Beijingers a few options for access to less-toxic food. Insecure urbanites can subscribe to a weekly order of in-season vegetables, or they can rent a plot of land at the farm and either tend it themselves on the weekends or pay the farm to raise vegetables on it.
I’ll be in Beijing next week, and it’s high time I dropped by the place, especially after my somewhat disappointing visit to the Vang Vieng Organic Farm in Laos.
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.
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.