thatsmags:

Back the Bid? Beijing’s high hopes of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics

Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announced Beijing’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Games would move on to the candidate phase. If successful, the Chinese capital would make history as the first city to hold both the Summer and Winter Games. We decided to pay a visit to one of the proposed sites, the small Heibei county of Chongli, a small Hebei county under the administration of Zhangjiakou City with a population of just 125,000.

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"In truth, that sunrise was probably on the screen for less than 10 seconds at a time, as it was part of an ad for tourism in China’s Shandong province. The ad plays every day throughout the day all year round no matter how bad the pollution is." 
No, Beijing residents are NOT watching fake sunrises on giant TVs because of pollution.

"In truth, that sunrise was probably on the screen for less than 10 seconds at a time, as it was part of an ad for tourism in China’s Shandong province. The ad plays every day throughout the day all year round no matter how bad the pollution is." 

No, Beijing residents are NOT watching fake sunrises on giant TVs because of pollution.

Via "On Scale of 0 to 500, Beijing’s Air Quality Tops ‘Crazy Bad’ at 755" — NYTimes.com
I was living in Beijing when the index infamously hit "crazy bad." Hard to fathom anything much worse than that, let alone a 755 day. 
Yeesh.

Via "On Scale of 0 to 500, Beijing’s Air Quality Tops ‘Crazy Bad’ at 755" — NYTimes.com

I was living in Beijing when the index infamously hit "crazy bad." Hard to fathom anything much worse than that, let alone a 755 day. 

Yeesh.

So it turns out my iPhone had a built-in Panorama feature all along? Whoops. 

Anyway, here are some stereotypical tourist trap pics from my brief Beijing trip this weekend… in Panorama form. Click to embiggen/read captions.

And big thanks to Beijing for having perfect weather for our trip to the Wall on Friday. Skies were so blue they looked Photoshopped.

An old flame

There was a moment on Saturday, during my 36 hour trip to Beijing, that I felt right at home again. I was sitting at the bar at First Floor with my all-time favorite bartender Jack just across from me, the Saturday DJ blasting the same lineup of songs he always did.

I worried that Beijing would forget about me and move on, but nothing about it changed, really. Friends left and relationships changed, sure, but the environment was exactly the same. Sanlitun was as rowdy and crowded as I’d ever seen it, Nanluoguxiang as laid back as ever. I was able to take the subway without second thought as to where I was going, and the automated-ness of it all made it feel like I was cheating on Shanghai with Beijing. Old habits never die.

But the pollution — oh God, the pollution. I broke up with Beijing for many reasons, pollution being one of them. I never thought about how depressing it was until I made the move to Shanghai. Being forced to stay indoors and watch dust blocking the sun more often than not gave me cabin fever I never realized I had. This was only reconfirmed after my return flight, which had taken off from Beijing in a dusty haze, landed in a perfectly sunny and blue-skied Shanghai yesterday morning.

Of course, I got to see some super awesome peeps I love, which Shanghai doesn’t have. Point: Beijing. Just please, please, please don’t tell Shanghai I said that.

I also happened to leave Beijing 4 months ago. So take all this moody, nostalgic longing with a grain of salt.

Oh Beijing. I already miss you.

Oh Beijing. I already miss you.

One thing that I simultaneously love and hate about China is Chinese New Year. I say hate because for about two weeks straight, fireworks go off every day starting from dusk and ending at about 2 am. And these aren’t professionally orchestrated shows — they’re average people like you and me lighting up fireworks just outside their apartment buildings. Every day you’ll hear stories of buildings being burned down due to errant explosions. Car alarms going off constantly is the norm. Beijing ends up sounding like a war zone, and at any given second a firework will burst directly above you, rendering you momentarily deaf.

Here’s a video I recorded in my neighborhood of the final day of celebrations for the Year of the Rabbit earlier this year. I’ve heard Shanghai doesn’t get as crazy as Beijing — let’s hope that’s true.

In which I attempt to be a “The Week” correspondent.

In which I attempt to be a “The Week” correspondent.

I’m that person who

hijacks the playlist at the bar and plays “O Holy Night” by Celine Dion because, duh, it’s Christmas.