First Spring day in Beijing

Today temperatures were well above zero in Beijing, and it was a sunny clear Sunday with a blue sky. People were in a good mood, started going out buying flowers, strolling around the parks and sitting outside reading a book or playing cards or chess. Even the traffic was more quiet today, partly because it was a Sunday of course, but also because drivers were just not so aggressive. Urban driving in China often does not feel like transportation, but like being in combat. But today it was different. 

Still I did a bit of ice skating and many others also had the same idea: let's do it before the ice gets too thin. Even the group of men were around swimming in the ice water. This is amazing. They do not just dive in and get out again, but they really swim a few strokes and stay for minutes in the water. So I asked: "What's the trick? Some Chinese Medicine again?" A lot of laughter. I guess, there is no trick. They are just really tough. If things go well, I will finally get the container at the end of this week. The winter clothes which are in there I might not even need any more this year. It took then about 3 months to ship the freight from Hong Kong to Beijing. It is not the shipping itself which takes this time, but the procedures around it. Bureaucracy is a very sophisticated system here, as there are so many people who have to find employment in it. But once you figure out the process, things go surprisingly smooth. Of course the HR Department should take care of such things. But like with any HR Department, "should take care" is all you can expect.

The only small disadvantage of temperatures above zero is that you have to watch out on the street where you step. People tend to spit on the ground here, after cleaning their throats in a dramatic manner. And what was a little frozen ice patch before, is now - well, you know what it is. I know it is based on 5000 years of culture and this needs respect and tolerance. No problem. But better watch your feet.