Winter Arrives in Beijing

This week the cold weather arrived. After a lovely November of mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures, December has begun very cold and windy. A taxi I saw yesterday must have driven in from a night in one of the outlying suburbs, because its top was covered in two or three inches of snow. Riding a bicycle is my favorite way to get around in Beijing, but suddenly it’s become much more difficult. The winds are sometimes enough to slow you down or blow you over, and the cold slowly seeps in through your layers of clothing. Puddles of standing water on the streets are now glazed with ice, or churned into a brownish slurry of ice and dirty water. The sun is still out, and the wind blows away the pollution, but it’s cold.