Archives For Weather

What could possibly go wrong when you are going to see one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? Well, how about rain! Yes, rain causes a few discomforts when you are visiting the Great Wall of China, like getting wet, walking on slippery stones, and not being able to use the toboggan slide coming down the mountain.

But there is good news! The crowds are smaller, it is cooler, and it gives a completely different perspective of the Great Wall. Would you like to see what I mean?

Taking the Good with the Bad

I have been to the Great Wall of China on perfectly clear days, and you can see all of the surrounding mountains and valleys below. To some, it may seem a little disappointing to go to the Great Wall when it is raining, but I appreciate the change the rain brings and the unique views it offers. I have read that the Mu Tian Yu section of the Great Wall is about 3425.2 feet above sea level, so you can understand that you are literally in the clouds.

Taking the Good with the Bad

Since the Great Wall of China is over 13,000 miles long, you can’t see all of it anyway, so I enjoy the eerie yet calm view on days when it rains. It is hard to believe that the section in the photograph above is over 2,000 years old!

Taking the Good with the Bad

When I am at the Great Wall, the view off in the distance reminds me of the beginning to the old television show MASH. If you can recall the scene as the helicopter flies in and you can see the rugged mountains in the background — well, to me, the two scenes are the same.

There are so many things you can’t control when you are traveling, so I encourage you to find the good side of what may alter your plans. Who knows, you may like the change better than your original plans!

I hope to see you on the Great Wall one day… rain or shine!

One of the cities I return to often in China is in the northern part of the country. To give you an example of how cold it gets there, I have been told that people will ice skate to work when the river freezes. Also, one night I was waiting outside of the train station for a taxi, and I had to keep blinking my eyes, because the moisture on my eyes was freezing. By the way, when I returned to my hotel room, I looked on the Internet and it was minus eighteen degrees Fahrenheit! With all of the cold weather, this city receives surprisingly little snowfall. They have a dry climate, so there isn’t enough moisture in the air for as much snow as you would expect. So, do you want to know what people in this city do when it snows?
How Do You Enjoy the Snow?

They have a snowball fight! I can’t begin to tell you how cute this little girl was throwing snowballs at her dad. She would laugh and giggle every time she threw one or she got hit with some snow. Honestly, I think her dad was enjoying his time with her, as much as she was enjoying playing in the snow with him.

On a day when I was worried about being to keep my travel plans due to the snow, this was a pleasant distraction! This little girl was precious as she was having playtime in the snow with her dad. Maybe I should remember how happy and carefree this little girl was when I feel stressed!

What do you do to enjoy the snow?

 

I am 57 years old, and I have never had a white Christmas! Perhaps living near Atlanta, GA, doesn’t help in my quest for one. I think having a white Christmas would be wonderful, and I almost had one this year. I was in China shortly after Christmas, and they had snow, so do you want to see what an almost white Christmas looked like for me?

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

Someone had the Christmas spirit, and they decided to place a Christmas tree in the playground area of an apartment complex. Knowing how the wind blows in this city, I am surprised the tree was still standing! Across the street, there is a park, and it had a lovely view during my visit. I have actually seen people playing ping pong in this park when there was more snow on the ground than this.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

I think the snow is so beautiful while it is falling and when it is nice and clean. It amazes me how quiet it makes the area . . . but there is a bad side to the snow. In my opinion, snow becomes ugly when it is driven on and becomes dirty.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

There are other negative side effects of the snow, the cold being one of them. I took this picture where a man had a bike repair cart on a busy street corner. He was doing all he could to stay warm, and judging from the suit on the wall, I think he had employed this technique before.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

Oh well, I guess I will continue to look forward to a white Christmas, and be happy when I don’t have one!

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Northern China has very harsh winters! I have seen puddles frozen over in October, and huge snow storms in March. That is a long and hard winter to me.

To protect their vegetation, the city takes many proactive steps. For the smaller plants a cover can be effective to keep the cold out. Believe me, not only is it cold, but the wind can cut right through you if you are not protected. As you can see in the picture below, this city is protecting their shrubs lining a very busy street. You can also see that the lower section of the trees are painted, this is to keep bugs out.

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Even though it is very cold, normal life must continue, including driving to work and shopping. For people that use scooters, that can be horribly uncomfortable in the winter if the necessary steps are not taken. As you can see in the picture below, this scooter not only has protection for the hands, but also the body of the driver.ProtectCold2

I don’t think the open air rickshaw business is very good this time of the year in northern China!

My last blog was about snow, and the recent weather in China has given me material to continue with that topic. So far this fall, China has had multiple snows. I have a friend in Shenyang, which is in the north east section of the country. It gets plenty cold to have snow, but their climate is dry so usually they don’t have much snow. There just isn’t enough moisture in the air. Well, he recently sent me a picture of himself in a hot springs hot tub and it was snowing. In fact, he said it was so cold that his hair froze, but the water was 110 F, so his body stayed very warm.

Moving southward to Beijing, I received another set of pictures with lots of snow on the ground. I have also heard of horrible traffic there and many canceled flights. I can’t imagine the chaos in a city the size of Beijing to have a heavy snow storm!

Still further south in the Shandong Province, a friend sent pictures of their snow. They are receiving the most snow in 50 years. Some of the sheds built to protect bicycles and scooters are falling down due to the weight of the snow. My friend has a thriving garden, and they had to shake the snow from their plants to keep them from breaking under the weight of the snow.

I think there are two big winners from the snow. The children that get to play in it, and the farmers who will use the moisture from the snow for their crops. Here are a couple of pictures of the snow around China this year.

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Recently, I have had friends in China tell me about the snow they have had lately. Some live as far north as Shenyang, in the Liaoning Province and others as far south as Linyi, in the Shandong Province. Hopefully this will ease the minds of those of you that were worried about Beijing not having snow for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games!

China does practice cloud seeding, so they can try to generate some snow if they need more for the Olympics. Also, I am sure they can make snow if any is needed. I was told that Russia considered trucking in snow if they didn’t have enough falling naturally when they hosted the Winter Olympics, so China may try that as well.

This picture was from a few years ago in Beijing. Actually it was in March, so it was kind of a surprise to see this much snow so late in the year. Nonetheless, it is beautiful. That is, until people start driving on it and the snow turns black. I love how snow makes the area so quiet and peaceful. Maybe one day I will have a white Christmas, as the song says.

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The pagoda above usually has lots of foot traffic around it, but not on this morning! To battle traffic, Beijing wants 8% of the commuters to travel by bikes, but that wouldn’t have been a good idea on this day. The shelter in the picture below is for bikes, but I don’t think many people ventured out on bikes this day. Traffic in Beijing is always interesting; especially when it snows!

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The system that is in place for China to heat itself in the cold months is via boilers burning coal. Your geographic location in China will determine when the heat comes on. For example, if you live in northern China, your city will probably start burning coal and start sending heat through the radiators at the first of November. If you live further south, then the heat will come on later. I think the heat comes on in Beijing the 15th of November.

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Boiler in China

As you can see in the picture to the left, the hotel where I was staying in a very small city had their own boiler. There is no telling how old the boiler was, but I was impressed with how well the pile of coal was kept swept up around it! As you can imagine, it is a happy day for many people when the heat for their home is provided. In case you were wondering, yes, they use radiators like some of us had when we were in school. I will show those of you who didn’t have radiators what I am talking about in the next picture.

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That’s a radiator!

Many people complain about the fine coal dust that is in the air in China while the boilers are being used for heating, so many people wear masks. I can understand why people with breathing issues would be concerned!

One funny sight I once saw near a boiler room was a clothes line. There were some beautifully clean and white sheets being hung out to dry, but there were right beside the boiler room, which put out lots of black smoke, and the sheets were by a pile of coal, so if the wind blew from a certain direction, the coal dust could blow on the clean white sheets!

I guess some days you just do the best you can do with what you have!image006

Wet Feet

May 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

Nobody likes wet feet, unless you are swimming or taking a shower. I was in a very large city in China when I saw this sight. It had been raining for a couple of days, so not only was the rain falling, but puddles were forming everywhere. These guys had a great idea of how to keep their shoes and feet dry. They tied plastic shopping bags over their shoes, and away they went. I apologize about the quality of the picture, but it was taken through the window of a restaurant.

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The city I was in is in northern China; it gets very cold there in the winter. The use of plastic bags on your feet is nothing new in this city. I was taught to use plastic bags between my socks and shoes to keep your feet warm in the winter, and I must say it works amazingly well. Who would have thought something as common as plastic bags could be used to help your feet so much!

If you are like most travelers, you don’t have unlimited time to wait on the perfect weather conditions to visit a sight which is outside. Another item that comes into play is that there are some must see venues when you travel. The Great Wall of China is certainly one of them! If you are in China and your time dictates you visit the Great Wall when it is raining, it will be a bit disappointing because your view will be so limited. In most places I have seen, the Great Wall runs along a mountain ridge, so if the clouds are low, you will be in them on the Great Wall and your visibility will be restricted.

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It has been my experience that the Great Wall will remain open when it rains. At the entrance there are several vendors that are wise business people. They will gladly sell you a poncho… at an elevated price. If the Great Wall is crowded and many people have umbrellas, watch out! Don’t let them unintentionally poke you with one of the tips of their umbrellas. Umbrellas in a crowded area just don’t work well in my opinion.

Some things you may want to consider is that the stones on the Great Wall are old and smooth, so they can be very slippery when they are wet. Also, you may want to consider taking off your socks, so you can have something dry to put on when you drive away from the Great Wall. Once, I was at the Great Wall and it was so cold that the battery in my camera froze and wouldn’t work! That was a shame, because there was snow on the ground and it would have made for some beautiful pictures! So, be prepared for the weather when you go to the Great Wall!