every breath you take

On December 6, 2014, the PM2.5 in Shanghai went “beyond index” … which is scary speak for WOAH WE DIDN’T REALIZE IT COULD GET THIS BAD. Sigh. They say it feels like life is longer in cities like Shanghai because everything moves so fast and there’s always something happening or new to do. But … that gets canceled out by the crappy air that’s slowly killing us and drives us into our air-purified apartments.


Since then there have been a few other days of “I really should start wearing an air mask,” but for the most part the air quality is much better (meaning that we’ve been staying in the Moderate to Unhealthy range). But when I was here a few years back, most people never even thought about air quality because Shanghai’s air was always fairly decent, especially in comparison to Beijing’s. It’s actually quite frightening.

You know that song “Every Breath You Take” by The Police? Good song. Well, here’s the Shanghai version (keeping in mind that I have no sense of rhythm):

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every day in China
Every step outside
You die a little

Oh can’t you see?
Oh wait no you can’t
It’s a blank white sky
That definitely isn’t fog

But how I still love Shanghai! Sigh. Despite the air problems, I’m here and loving it. Maybe not as much now that I’m worried about developing asthma, but China’s still the place to be. For me, for now. A donation to cover my future respiratory medical bills would be appreciated. Thanks.

the beginning of the visa run

131208 01

I’m off to Hong Kong! And … my trip begins with a delay. Darn you smog!

I’m flying out of Pudong International Airport (PVG), which is quite a ways away from where I live. I was afraid I was going to be late (I always think I’m going to be late yet always end up arriving far too early) so I shilled out for a taxi instead of taking the subway. Stupid move. I could’ve saved about 30 bucks and still had plenty of time. Sheesh.

morning, shanghai!

Ah … Great Firewall of China – I once again succumb to your pressures! I’m in China (yay!) but I stupidly forgot to set up my VPN before leaving New York and now I’m having oodles of fun trying to set it up in-country. It’ll only be for a bit longer, and even though Gmail lags like no other, at least I still have e-mail. Facebook and WordPress? Not so much. I’m sending this post via e-mail, which is simply cumbersome. This is just a short trip to China so I’ll be back in New York before Independence Day.

But hey, it’s 6 in the morning and I’m awake – when’s the last time that happened? Unfortunately the sky is so hazy it’s hard to make out the sun ….


yucky hazy skies

The other day I woke up, looked out the window and thought: What time is it? Turns out it was a bit before noon, yet there was no sun. Was it raining? Nope. Oh nevermind, this is how the sky always looks. Yucky and really hazy. I’m amazed there aren’t more people with asthma, or maybe it just goes under-diagnosed around here. My poor, poor lungs.

Every now and then (like after a heavy rain) there will be a clear day with a blue sky. On those days, I can see for quite a ways. But for the most part … the buildings in the background are basically whited/grayed out by the dust and smog. How many buildings can you count?