I was happily surprised that we’ve had an Autumn this year in Beijing. Normally it goes from blistering heat to teeth-chattering cold in about 3 weeks flat, all but skipping my favourite season completely. You spend the whole sweaty summer wishing it was cold and the whole winter waiting for it to warm up. It’s been nice to have a good couple of months being perfectly happy with the weather just as it is!

But sadly, it can’t all be perfect; all of the corner store fridges have now been turned off. If you want a chilled soft drink you have to buy it and put it in your own fridge at home. People here think it’s truly bizarre that westerners still want to drink cold drinks in the winter. If you ask a shop owner for a cold drink you might as well have asked them to shave your back for you, as they’ll be equally shocked and baffled by either question.

Another uniquely Chinese problem faced in early November is in regard to heating. Centralised heating comes on around November 15th. You have no control over the heating in your own apartment here; it is turned on for you in November, and turned off for you in March, all courtesy of The Man. You can’t even adjust the temperature of the heating, so it’s quite common for people to open windows to let out some of the warmth. It’s an incredibly inefficient and peculiar approach to heating, and something I still have trouble getting my head around after more than two years here.

Anyway, in just two days time I can sit in my incredibly warm apartment with my freshly shaven back home-chilled beverages and enjoy the remainder of the fall from the window, and it’s exactly what I intend to do.


About Greg

A simpleton from West Yorkshire, England living in Beijing. I try to document the oddities, frustrations and funnies that happen to me whilst out here. Hopefully you enjoy reading these little episodes as much as I enjoy writing them.
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7 Responses to Autumn

  1. Elyse says:

    Enjoy. But the peculiarities aren’t so far removed.

    In Europe, we got used to room temperature drinks. In my early days in Boston in the mid-70’s, heat was turned on in mid-November and turned off again in the spring (waaaay too early in the spring.

    • gregschina says:

      I’d never come across room temperature drinks until I got here. Though it probably stops me drinking too many soft drinks, which is no bad thing.
      The heating thing sounds identical! It’s really odd.

  2. maesprose says:

    In New York the heat goes on Oct 15 for every apartment. I’m not sure when it’s turned off in the spring but we can’t adjust the temperature either.

    • gregschina says:

      Hmm, interesting. Perhaps it has something to do with heating multi-story apartments being a hassle? I’m a country boy so I’ve grown up in semi/detached houses my whole life and we’ve always been the ones in control of our own heating.

  3. megand06 says:

    Loving your blog. I’m living in Guangzhou, the weather is still firmly in what I would call spring/summer but people are dressing for the Arctic!

    • gregschina says:

      Thanks Megan! Glad to hear you’re a fan.
      Haha, I know what you mean – when I’m out and about in 10 degrees with “just” a thick woollen jumper instead of 5 t-shirts, 2 thick woollen jumpers and a duck down coat I’m seen as some sort of super-human who can deal with Arctic temperatures. Though folk here do a damn site better in the summer than I do…

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