Tag Archives: air pollution

Beijing: So near but actually too far

28 Jun

chinaflagSo right about now I was supposed to be on a flight to Beijing – a stylish long weekend with friends in the northern capital, doing the hell out of the wall, the City, the square…you know the sort of thing. I pushed to the back of my mind the thought that the air will be thick with carcinogens, the streets littered with children’s tears and shit, and the locals, well, Chinese.

However it was all a moot point. Points don’t get any mooter than this particular point, because you see, I didn’t have the requisite visa. The newly announced 72 hours visa-free permit for visitors to stay in Beijing and Shanghai apparently doesn’t apply if you have a return ticket. Rules, damn rules…

It makes about as much sense as any piece of Chinese bureaucracy – a system, no, an entire country, that takes immense pride from fucking up the hapless laowai. Whether it’s the idiosyncratic approach to queuing, cab drivers that have no idea where they’re going, vomitingly dreadful food, or Benson&Hedges air quality, everything about Beijing is fiercely offensive to a cosseted little Brit like me. I’m sorry about the Opium War guys but seriously, it was a long time ago…time to move on people.

hadrians wall

Hadrian’s….by far the better wall

Anyway, sod it. The mercury’s set to hit 33 degrees this weekend in Hong Kong. It’s a bank holiday, there are beach parties galore, people to get nicely tipsy with and cab drivers who know where I live. There’s the best Chinese food anywhere on the planet, tap water you can drink without literally shitting yourself, and internet porn. Oh, and I can Tweet. Screw you Beijing, I’d rather invent a time machine and go back to London in the ’50s….