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Archive for October, 2007

Winter is coming to us now…Nov. 8th is Beginning of Winter, one of the 24 solar terms in our lunar calendar,which marks the beginning of winter in China.  I can feel more and more coldness in the air, and more and more pollution as well. 

Usually,winter is a heavily polluted season in Beijing, as we use coals or natural gas to fuel our heating system. The heating system runs from mid November till next mid March, the coldest period in the year.  While it keeps us from the coldness outside, the use of coals also brings about air pollution. Last week, we did have several foggy days and suffer some inconvenience.  Due to the heavy fog, some expressways had to be shut down temporarily and many flights at the Capital Airport were delayed or canceled. 

To make it even worse, there are more and more private cars on the roads, emitting more and more polluting tail gas into the air.  I do think we’ve had more foggy days than last year. Next year, the Olympics is coming, I am worrying about how we will deal with the problem.

On the other side, however, I also see our government making their efforts to address the problem.  People are encouraged to use public transportation sysem rather than driving private cars. From October 7th, the ticket fare for Beijing’s subway has been slashed down substantially. All the current subways have been connected and passengers can go anywhere within the system with a 2-yuan ticket.  In the past, it took you 5-6 yuan. 

The subways have attracted more people thanks to its low ticket fare. However, problems have also been arising.  Subway line 5 has  kept breaking down since its official operation on October 7th.  I was asked to get off the train this morning due to some technical failures and this was not the first time I ran into such problems.  And it seems that the heavy burden for Line 1 and Line 2 has not been alleviated as the two lines are as crowded as before. 

I read in a report that the utilization rate of Beijing’s public transportation system is still very low, many people still love to drive private cars.  The reasons are a mixed one.  People tend to drive their own cars because the buses and subways are crowded all the time.  There is, I think, still another reason is that Chinese like to satisfy themselves with the sense of accomplishment by driving their own nice cars on the roads, which makes them feel pretty good.   Thus, there is still a long way to go for our government to address the traffic problems and educate and change people’s basic conception.

In fact, many people are contributing to a clear sky in Beijing.  Some enterprises (e.g., The Capital Steel Group) have promised to reduce their output next year during the Games, and a car free day is also being accepted among the civilians.  

I also read some reports that some athletes are worrying about Beijing’s air quality, some are even trying to boycott the Beijing Olympics.

However, I’m deeply convinced that we CAN hold a successful Olympics.  As the slogan of Beijing Olympics goes, it will be a ” Green Olympics, Sci-Tech Olympics, and Humanistic Olympics.”  Let’s do our share in making the air cleaner.  I believe we can make it.

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At 2:00pm Oct. 7th, Subway No. 5 made its official debut in Beijing. The newly-built subway line stretches from Tiantongyuan in the north to Song Zhuang in the south, covering a distance of 27.6km. It takes nearly four years to complete this huge project( investment of 12 billion yuan)since its construction on Dec. 27th, 2003.

 

The No. 5 brings me, and other residents living nearby, a lot of convenience. It saves me a lot of time and money. I go to work by subway every day. In the past, I took No 13 and had to transfer twice before I reached the station near my office, and the two transfers alone nearly took me half an hour. The whole trip nearly took me one and a quarter hours from my home to the office. Now, the time has substantially shortened. I can make it in less than an hour. Alas! I do benefit a lot from it!

 

Here’s a comparison of the time I spent before and after No. 5 is completed:

 

Before

From my home to the nearest Station     20minutes(No. 13)
From my home to Dongzhimen                 20minutes
First Transfer at Dongzhimen                   10minutes
Dongzhimen to Jianguomen                       10minutes
Second transfer at Jianguomen                 10minutes
Jianguomen to Yonganli                               5minutes
——————————————————–
Total                                                             75minutes

After

From my home to the nearest station           15minutes
From Lishuiqiao South to Dongdan                27minutes
Transfer and to Yonganli                                 10minutes
——————————————————-
Total                                                                    52minutes

 

How does Beijing’s subway system look like? Here’s a sketch of the system:

Subway map

It must be beyond your thoughts that Beijing’s subway was not built as a part of the public transportation, but for national defense purpose at the very beginning. Construction of the first subway line, No. 1, began in the mid-1960s, when we broke up our ties with Suviet Union. It kept as a top level secret for a long time and was not open to the public till Sept. 15th, 1981. On October 1st 1969, just on the 20th national day, No. 1 Subway Line began its operation, making Beijing the first city that owns subway lines in China.

Since then, No. 2, No. 13 and Batong Line was put to operation in succession. By the end of 2005, the total length of the city’s subway line reached 114km. Plus No. 5, the total length by this year will be 141.6km.

The following is a summary of Beijing’s subway system:

Completed: No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, No. 8 ( Olympic line), No. 13, Batong Line

Under construction: No. 4, No. 9, No. 10

About to be built: No. 6, Daxing Line, Yizhuang Line, etc

Planning: No. 7, No. 11, No. 12, No14, No. 15, No. 16

 

Beijing is now making preparations for the 29th Olympic Games, and it is part of the scheme to improve the city’s subway system. I believe the city will become a more and more attractive place to the people around the world!

 

 

 

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National Day Holidays
(Picture from www.chinanews.com)

How time flies! Already the fifth day of the long holiday. I think it is a good one this year. The whole family went to stay at a hotel in the suburb for one night and enjoyed the delicious food there. 

The hotel  nestled among the mountains and was named ” Chestnut Woods”, really a perfect name for it. We did tasted the best chestnuts there.  On the slopes of the nearby mountains grew a lot of hawkthorn trees, on which borne a lot of fruit.  The flowers boomed on the mountains and in the garden and I did remind myself to collect some seeds home. Maybe I can grow those beautiful flowers at home next year.

There were many orchards nearby and we went to one of them to pick some fruit.  The freshly picked apples, pears and chestnuts looked so nice and we really had a lot of fun there.  We also tasted the big fish raised in the nearby reservoire, so delicious!

Thank god the weather was fine during those two days and it began to rain after we came back. It is getting cooler and cooler now, and I do keenly feel the autumn in Beijing.  The trees are turning yellow, some even red. I know the season for enjoying red leaves is waving to us!

From the local news I learned that some of the spots in Beijing were heavily crowded with tourists these days: Badaling Great Wall, The Summer Palace, Beihai Park, and the Forbidden City.  It’s always the same every Golden Week, and every year. 

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The following post was drafted several days ago but I just had time to finish it tonight:

Yesterday evening, the final game of the Women’s World Cup was kicked off between Brazilians and Germans at Hong Qiao Stadium, Shanghai. It was out of question that it was one of the greatest game of this session of Women’s World Cup, or even in the history.

The two teams were both very excellent and they did do their best. Brazilians had demonstrated their consumate skills and their peerless personal ability, while Germans were physically stronger. Brazilians got the run during match but luck was not at their side that evening. In the second half, Brazilians suffered two fatal attacks from Germans and Germans took the lead by 2:0.

The Brazilian girls lost their patience. They were really in a fret to reverse the situation. Then an opportunity came. Germans got a foul and Brazilians were rewarded with a pentalty kick. However, they didn’t grasp it because the German goalkeeper was so excellent that she successfully got the kick by Marta.

It was really a pity that Brazilian girls didn’t win the cup finally though they had done a great job. But they are still very young and I believe they will in the next world cup.

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