It is Fall in Beijing, which means the leaves are yellow, the sky is (occassionally) blue, ...and houses and buildings are really cold.
(The picture on the right shows the Fall leaves at the Western Academy of Beijing. Thomas (in black on the left) is playing soccer with his friends during recess.)
Most buildings in Beijing use central heating, which means that your heat comes from a centralized point, with heat probably supplied by coal fired power plants. So for you to have heat in your house, this central heating needs to be switched on. Where we live -- in the "Beijing Riviera" compound -- heating got switched on about two weeks ago, but that is an exception. In most other places the heating will be turned on only on November 15.
So for the last two weeks, I've been dragging my winter coat everywhere. Not to wear it outside (though that is necessary too some days), but mostly to wear it inside. The building where I take my Chinese classes for example has been super cold. If it wasn't for the small space heaters and my thick coat, I wouldn't have survived.
Here's an article from last year about this issue: "Chinese Freeze Before Gov't Turns on the Heat."
Today, we have only two more days to go till the heat goes on. I think I can make it!
In het nederlands: Beijing en veel andere plaatsen in China hebben centrale verwarming. Ons huis is in een aparte wijk (met veel buitenlanders) en gelukkig kunnen we hier nu al zo'n twee weken de verwarming aanzetten. Maar de rest van China wacht nog met smart op 15 november. Dan zet de overheid de centrale verwarming aan.