mudstorm?

June 20th, 2008

So who woulda thunk that, after two days of constantly increasing turgid humidity, walking outside at half past seven this evening, without even the slightest change in the weather besides a couple of breaths of a very slight breeze just as we were heading out, stepping outside would’ve felt like walking into a sandstorm?

But that’s what it was, and I can’t figure out where all the floating dust was coming from, because there certainly wasn’t enough wind for that. And that was accompanied by an increasing threat of a decent Beijing summer rainstorm- but I didn’t think that would hit us, at most we’d just be sideswiped, as happens all too often. The darker patches of that turgid grey humid overcast were out to the northeast of us and the first flash of lightning came as we stepped out the gate and that was a good dozen kilometres to the east.

We got down to the T-intersection with Songyu Beilu, only 50-odd metres from the gate, and lzh decided we shouldn’t go to the big Jingkelong down the road with what looked like a kick-arse huge storm about to hit. Fine by me, all I wanted needed was to stretch my legs for a bit, having given up the prime opportunity this afternoon because I was so buggered from having spent so many more hours than should’ve been necessary in the Entry-Exit Bureau sorting out what my residence permit was supposed to have cost. When I suggested we go for a walk, that really was all I meant, and I was really hoping (knowing full well such hope was beyond vain) that she wouldn’t suggest something involving perhaps even just window shopping. Really, just a walk. Well, a few raindrops did fall as we walked down to and around the corner.

lzh suggested we stop by the market and buy some fruit. Fair enough, that’s shopping I can handle. Market was closed, it being about half past seven. Alright, up the alley that serves both the apartment complex and the slum over our back fence, that takes us past a smaller Jingkelong- really just a convenience store edition of the chain- and a market, hooking up with the alley that runs along the north side of our estate from Xidawang Lu to Wusheng Lu. Market there is closed, too. Oh well, might as well see what the small Jingkelong has. So lzh loaded up on snacks (no fruit, though) and I took the opportunity to grab a few cans of the super-cheap but surprisingly tasty (really!) and low-formaldehyde (REALLY!!) Yanjing brew they have there.

We paid, we walked outside, I was proved wrong. The storm had hit. Not directly, quite, it was the edge of the storm, just a bit of light rain, enough to turn that airborne sand into hairborne mud, but not much more. But by the time we’d walked down the alley, around onto Xidawang Lu and into the big gate of our compound, the rain had gotten big.

And now, a mere twenty minutes later, it seems to have stopped already.

Seems we copped the edge-and-a-bit of the storm.

Ah well, I needed the exercise, and it’s always fun to run home in the rain.

And we have one more cloth shopping bag. Honestly, it took us at least two weeks from the ban on free plastic bags to get around to buying a cloth shopping bag. We now have three: One each of the two sizes being sold at that little Jingkelong we stopped in tonight, and one brand-free but flourescent lime green small one from the Shouhang at Songyu Nanli. We’re now set up for plastic-minimal shopping, and it feels good (because those bags are so damn convenient for so many other things, too!). It just remains to be seen what happens when we run out of bags to put rubbish in.

Still, woulda been nice if the storm had hit us head on. It’s been precisely the kind of weather that desperately cries out for a good, hard storm to clear the air out- and follow that up with a good, strong breeze to keep the air cleared. But no, looks like we’re in for more of this humidity tomorrow.

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