Monday, November 10, 2014

A New Color on the Spectrum: APEC Blue

Thank you, President Obama, for blue skies this week.

This week, President Obama and other world leaders are in town to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings and Beijing has added a new color to the color spectrum: APEC Blue.

Because of the meetings, the government has issued a long list of restrictions to reduce emissions and traffic in the hopes of keeping the skies clean and the streets empty. As a result, the boys' school and many offices are closed for the week, in effect creating an "APEC Holiday" for everyone. (The kids, presumably, are doing two days of virtual learning from home to make up for lost time.)

The government measures include a limit on traffic, with only half the number of cars driving on one day (based on the last number of your license plate), and the other half the next; a reduction in the number of spots to see a doctor, to reduce traffic but also ensure hospitals are empty and ready for possible sick dignitaries; and even a halt on the burning of incense to honor to your ancestors. (See this article for more.)

The measures are working, so the skies are "APEC Blue."

Of course, considering that smog and pollution are pretty constant around here, this pretty blue sky that's currently over the city is in fact raising some questions among residents, who are wondering why this blue sky--which apparently CAN be created--is not always here for them to enjoy.  (Read, The Sky is Really Blue But It Isn't for Us.)

Here is APEC Blue, yesterday at the boys' school. While Thomas played soccer...

...Simon totally photo-bombed my "APEC Blue" shots.
Here's the APEC Blue over the Great Wall. A friend was visiting and we went up to Huanghua Great Wall, or the Yellow Flowers segment of the Wall. On the way there, we had to pass a security checkpoint and show our IDs because the actual APEC meetings are happening in this general area.
APEC Blue & selfie
Some firewood ready for the winter. You probably wouldn't be allowed to burn it today because of all the restrictions.
A recent APEC sunrise above our house.
(The Halloween spider still survives in the bushes next to our house.)
Some family pictures, of Thomas and Simon enjoying the beginning of their "APEC holiday" and Thomas on Skype with a good friend in The Hague.
To see how the family is doing during the APEC holiday, the best way is actually to follow Thomas' super active blog, Thomas Awesome Blog, where he carefully documents his activities (as part of his homework) and even shares other goodies, such as math strategies. :-)
In 't Nederlands: Het is hier opeens vakantie! Een paar weken geleden hoorden we dat de school dicht moest vanwege de top van de Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation die deze week in Beijing plaatsvindt. Wereldleiders zoals President Obama zijn hier en omdat het toch echt niet de bedoeling is dat zij de stad in de vervuiling aantreffen (die wij elke dag zien) zijn er veel maatregelen genomen om de emissies te beperken en het verkeer te halveren.  Hier is een artikeltje op de NOS Website: Smogaanpak Peking: halve stad vrij. De school van Simon en Thomas is dus ook dicht en vandaag doen we aan "home learning", oftewel thuis schoolwerk maken. Op de foto's zie je iedereen genieten van de onverwachte vakantie en de "APEC blauwe" lucht die deze week boven de stad hangt.