Monday, January 04, 2010

Impressions from China - Snow

The snowfall yesterday lasted almost 24 hours & left us under a mantle of white...lovely to look at, but treacherous to traverse. It seems that the Beijing municipal government isn't terribly good at snow management, seeing that they typically get very frigid but rather dry winters, instead of the 12 inches that landed on us yesterday.

Flights were delayed, & the streets, especially those not considered highways or main roads, are difficult, not to mention dangerous to navigate on. Inexperienced drivers going too fast or accelerating too quickly find themselves skidding on the slippery surface, especially when the cars & tires are ill-equipped to be handling snow/ice covered surfaces. Add to that the rather lousy driving skills & etiquette of the typical Chinese driver & you have an accident waiting to happen.

Today in the city, I saw hordes of workers armed with snow shovels, gardening shovels & even brooms attacking the heaps of snow. Human labor in China is so much cheaper than buying a mechanized snow plow, it seems. I saw two workers standing on the back of a pick up truck next to a pile of salt, sporadically shoveling salt on to the roads as the truck moved slowly onwards in the city. Astounding.

More snow is expected on Friday, and temperatures are expected to plunge to as low as -16 C, as winds from Siberia blow into town. Let's hope that the current load of snow is cleared before the next load arrives.

As it is, driving around is already such a pain, as we have to go at snail's pace most of the time because of all the uncleared snow & unsalted roads. Yes, snow is pretty...but damned inconvenient to live with. Maybe I should invest in a pair of cross country skis.

Meantime, it looks like tonight is a good night to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate (or a glass of port)to warm up the innards, snuggle on the couch under a cozy throw, and watch a good movie with The Significant Other.

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