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.