China Diary

Day 28: Shopping Failures

Today, I changed from my dark but spacey apartment to a small but comfortable hotel room. Instead of a nice, two-bedroom place with two big TVs, two bathrooms, two toilets and a kitchen, I now have… Well. A bed.

Located on 14th floor, I have a beautiful view over Beijing CBD district. Below me runs the always-busy main street, leading all the way to Tiananmen Square and beyond. Around, the tall rooftops are hidden in the smoggy autumn weather. The street noise is constant, yet distant, almost soothing. Like listening to waves crashing on the beach in Caribbean… Or, actually, nothing like that.

I also failed quite dramatically with shopping. I thought I have a small fridge in my room, which is kinda true, but it’s meant to keep few drinks cool, and not meant to be loaded full of cheese, cakes, ham, beer and fruits, like I did. So basically, I have to throw away all that I bought – over 50€ worth of great stuff – because it will rot overnight.

I visited the office for few hours but got fed up by the absolutely dead Internet connection there, and went back to my room. I had big plans about the evening, maybe trying my luck once more at the Maggie’s, or finding a decent place for a dinner, but none of it came to be, because I fell weirdly ill for few hours. I didn’t get properly sick, just got these chills and felt weak for a moment, but I blame the weather outside.

Unlike in Finland, where you just watch if it’s going to rain and how cold it’s going to be, here you also have to observe the air quality. And today, it was a disaster. You can’t barely see across the street, let alone the horizon! The smog has descended on the city so thick it’s hard to think sun would ever shine here. And smog, it’s weird stuff. It’s kinda like fog, but it’s more … violent. More engulfing, in a way that hurts your eyes and lungs, and really puts a concrete proof on the fact that we’re really doing our best to kill the nature around us. No matter what we do in Finland, when Beijing turns on their coal-powered heaters as the winter comes, it’s another huge hole poked in the atmosphere, and there’s not much of it left anyway…

So, all I really ended up doing was playing some Skyrim, few rounds of Hearthstone with Julius and watched a movie (12th and Delaware, a documentary on an American abortion clinic and the protesters around it, pretty good, available on HBO, check it out). Oh, and just to clarify, watching a movie here means watching ten minutes of a movies, then waiting ten minutes for VPN to recover, then another ten minutes… Thus, the term “kokoillan elokuva” – “full length feature film” comes into effect around here in ways I could never have dreamt of.


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