Beijing is home of delicious egg tarts, Forbidden City, Mao’s gigantic portret, smog and scams.
When we first arrived in Beijing from Shanghai we couldn’t believe it. Blue sky, great visibility. And then the next day the same, and the next. Propaganda, we thought. Before coming I have seen videos of smog blanketing Beijing in just half an hour:
And although on all our photos the sky in as blue, as blue can be, we saw smog arriving on the day of our departure. And it was scary. You could hardly differentiate shapes of buildings, all of them looking hazy and grey. Smog in China has many causes, including pollution from industries and traffic, but it tends to happen more often in the winter, when low temperatures cause electricity demand to soar.
This pollution can come from many sources, but burning coal has been linked to the largest number of air pollution deaths in China, causing 366,000 premature deaths in 2013.
Seeing smog like this, feeling how hard it is to breathe and knowing that pollution in Poland is at some days similar to that in China I can see what the apocalypse will be like.
Aaaand now some more culture:
And now something new:
Beijing and scams
We heard stories from many people during our travels about how they got scammed in Beijing. With friendly students inviting them for wine, for a tea ceremony or a dinner. It always ends up costing a LOT. We thought we knew better, having travelled all through China for past three months. However we got taxi-driver-one-on-one-scammed. Long story short, we went out at night and a taxi driver wanted really to get punched by a big Australian guy, to get him to pay. It didn’t work out, but he still tried pulling it off. It cost us 8 hours at police station, lots of stress, Nathans 20 minutes in jail, a fake confession, two swiss franks and any positive feelings we might have had for the capital.
I spelled polished curses on him and the whole police station, so there will be justice one day. Till that moment, you have been warned.