Monday, September 21, 2009

Something in the air tonight

I've mentioned before the ubiquitous blue-painted metal sheeting that surrounds the ugly, pointless, neverending construction project in the park next to my apartment - and every other building site in the city.  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of major building projects going on in Beijing at any one time.  And they are all surrounded by walls of this metal sheeting - so, that must be several hundred kilometres, at least, of such sheeting across the whole city.
And, since everything must look pretty for the upcoming national birthday celebration, they are now all being given a fresh coat of bright blue paint.
Really.  It all seemed to be happening in one night.  All the sheeting along the street that runs south from the 2nd Ringroad to the Drum Tower (and there's a lot of it at the moment; the whole of the upper portion of the east side of the street seems to be undergoing yet another remodelling) and around half of that around my park had been freshly painted as I was walking home just before midnight last night.  I imagine this process is being repeated across the entire city.
And they are, of course, using the cheapest - and therefore, most probably, the most toxic - paint available.  The chemical stench in the air last night was quite overpowering.  Can you imagine how many gallons of this filth they are introducing into our environment in just a few short days?  I would think it might be a modest health hazard even if you don't live near to any of the blue sheeting (and almost everyone lives near to some!).  Ah, China.
I've been thinking I might have to start a 'tag' just for observations related to this year's October 1st activities.


JES said...

Please do set up a tag for the October 1 activities. When I first started visiting Froogville last year, that you'd bundled the Olympics posts this way made it much easier to see the whole thing at once, as it were. And after the fact, ditto the Tiananmen posts.

When/If you ever decide to set down roots elsewhere, I think you might want to take a look at the posts grouped together under these "PRC big events" tags -- with an eye to reworking them as multiple retrospective booklets (or sections of an entire book). You sometimes seem casually dismissive of yourself as a "real" writer (whatever the hell that is), but on the evidence here I'm not so sure.

Froog said...

You're very kind, JES - but October 1st is only a week away now, and I don't think I'll have that much more to say about it. Perhaps I'll reconsider retrospectively...

Froog said...

And this does indeed seem to be a city-wide phenomenon. Yesterday - after an aborted meeting - I took advantage of the gorgeous weather to walk back from the CBD to my place, a distance of 4 or 5 miles. On every major street there were extensive stretches of this blue sheeting, often extending far into the smaller sidestreets as well, and sometimes seeming to encompass almost an entire city block. I guess I may have seen something like 10 miles of this sheeting; and it had all been recently repainted - and was stinking the place up.