Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Beijing is not a city that sees a lot of snow. Even if I didn't already know that fact from having seen the seasons change, I would have known it from watching the city this evening.

This morning I woke as the sun was rising to the sight of fluttery white snowflakes sneaking past my window, disappearing before the hit the ground. An hour later I went out to walk in this most tangible sign of winter and to feel the flakes on my eyelashes as I walked down Sanlitun Jiubajie, the ground wet with the melted memory of the freeze. By noon it had stopped.

This evening I sat in a conference room with fifty others, listening to a presentation on international trade. At one point I glanced past the window and saw flurries (actual snow flurries!). By the time we walked out of the building after class there was snow on the ground. Not enough to build a snowman, almost a centimeter, but it was still enough to catch on our shoes and make people wearing shoes with no grip thing about snowboots.

A friend gave me a ride home. As her driver navigated through traffic that was curiously slow for that hour of the evening we watched as cars slid on the rode. A city bus rolled past us, pulled by a tow truck. Drivers here are not used to the wet, even if only rain, and that fact is aggravated by the lack of any traction on most tires.

I'm home now, cuddled up in cashmere, with the humidifier blowing moisture into the air and a cup of tea by my bedside. It would be lovely to see snow again in the morning, but for now I'm happy to have seen my first real Beijing snowfall.

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