Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Snow Day in Beijing

Actually we had two snow days – December 30 and 31. By the 1st it had finally stopped and the sun came out, though there was a fairly heavy pollution cover and it was still cold. Unfortunately, Laurent and I were housebound. It appears we both had a serious – though not life threatening – case of food poisoning – and no it wasn’t overindulgence at New Years. Anyway we laid low on the first day of the New Year and let Marie-Paul go out shopping on her own as we groaned softly on our beds of pain and suffering.

The first day of the first snowfall we headed out in our newly purchased winter togs to explore the Landau area – some shopping, some eating (Peking Duck) and some temple viewing. At first the snow was lovely and the continuing light fall gave the city a romantic aura. As with most snowfalls once people had tromped through and cars driven over it, things turned dirty, slushy, icy and treacherous. So much for the romance of a winter day.

Storeowners have a strange habit of putting pieces of cardboard on steps leading into their establishments in an attempt to aid traction. But it only seems to increase the hazard – we saw a giggling gaggle of pizza box-laden young ladies slipping and sliding out of Pizza Hut and expected to see them end up on the ground covered in tomato sauce and pepperoni. But never underestimate the average Beijingers desire for Pizza Hut thick crust – they made it.

While some were reveling in the snow – impromptu snowball fights, snowmen and at least one snow angel – others were trying to clean sidewalks and walkways with brooms. Vehicles – both motor and man powered – were having a difficult time of it. Marie-Paul took a few pictures of the cycle merchants making their way around town. And I got a few shots including a pair of very feisty pups who felt they had to defend their patch of snow from anyone else who may have wanted to pee on it!

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