Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, August 08, 2008

Air is fine, let the Games begin That was the headline to an article on the front page of the China Daily today. We Beijingers are really lucky to have the China Daily to tell us that the air is fine, because we have no other way of getting this information. The article quotes Jacques Rogge, president of the Olympic committee,

"There is a difference between the haze enveloping the city and damaging air pollution. What you see is the result of humidity and heat. It does not mean it is the same as pollution."

Technically, that is a true statement. In the summertime, foreigners often assume pollution when what they are really seeing is heat haze and humidity. Foreign journalists love to take pictures of this haze, because they like to write articles about how bad the air is in Beijing. Heat haze is not pollution. On that point I agree with Mr. Rogge. The problem is that while the humidity itself is not pollution, it does tend to exacerbate pollution, because the muck just sorta hangs there instead of blowing away with the breeze like it often does in the fall and winter. And there is another thing. Heat and humidity may not be the same as pollution, but the combination is still very uncomfortable. The weather in Beijing is actually quite nice most of the time. It is only this time of the year that is particularly disagreeable. The air in Beijing is usually pretty dry. But if that is true, what unearthly insanity would posses them to chose the most miserable time of the year to host the Olympics? The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were held in October. Japan is pretty nice that time of the year. But Beijing is even nicer. It's just beautiful here then.

According to CCTV, the Chinese had requested to have the Olympics in September. I would have chosen October, but if the heat breaks the end of August, September is really a nice month. But according to CCTV, NBC had spent more than 3 billion dollars to get the broadcast rights, and they had insisted that the Olympics be over before September, because of other items on their schedule. The baseball World Series is probably the big issue, but I'm not sure.

When I first heard that the Olympics would open on August 8, I couldn't believe it. But after thinking about it for awhile, I think it's probably a good thing. If the Olympics were held in September or October, the whole world would want to move here. Then China might get crowded, you know what I mean? When I shared this concern with Heather, she said, "I think you're safe there, Dad." Hope she's right.

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