September 16th, 2008

Wow, that was close…. We lzh decided that we’d dine at BeiGongDa’s No. 6 cafeteria tonight. It’s pretty reasonable as far as university cafeterias go. Doesn’t come close to ErWai’s, though- somehow, ErWai, lzh’s alma mater (or whatever that American word for the university you graduated from) managed to get a really nice campus and good- I kid you not, I mean really good- cafeterias. Anyway, BeiGongDa No. 6 it was. But as we walked out of the cafeteria at about twenty past six, we got a bit of a wake-up-and-get-moving-fast kick up the behind. The wind had kicked up a fuss, was blowing dust and bicycles around, and not far to the north was a huge thunderstorm. I mean huge.

So we picked up our bikes, got on, and pedalled like mad. Well, she did. Her legs and her bike are considerably shorter than mine, meaning I have to slow down for her (no problem, I need to learn to walk and cycle slowly, anyways). And a university campus in early evening has a hell of a lot of pedestrian traffic, meaning I couldn’t go as fast as I would’ve had I been alone, anyway. Well, we hoofed it back to the bridge then over our side of Xidawang Lu as quick as her bicycle and conditions would allow, then off the bridge, round the corner, through the gate, then I could finally open up… for 20 metres.

But crossing that bridge and looking north towards the CBD was a scary sight. That was one huge motherfucker of a storm I saw. Huge, mean and nasty.

Well, we got in the building safe enough, no worries there. Got upstairs and the rain started about the time we got inside. Washed the windblown dirt and muck off our faces and hands, and we’re good to sit the storm out and enjoy it.

I mean, today has been so ridiculously humid you could be forgiven for thinking Beijing had been suddenly moved to the centre of Hunan. Down in this small corner of southeastern Beijing we were sideswiped by a storm at about eight this morning- that got us all of five minutes of rain, followed by utterly absurd humidity all the way up to this evening. Not a pleasant day, in other words. Trying to take the roll in my first lesson I had to stop at least twice to mop the sweat off my brow least it cascade down and dissolve the roll.

Holy shit, that lightning bolt struck really fucking close! As in a few tens of metres away, if that!

Well, it seems the storm is on its way past us. All summer storms are short, sharp and straight to the point, but they often leave a fair bit of rain to wait out behind them.

Of course, when I told my students “Lovely weather today, isn’t it?” they all disagreed. “What?!” I said, “All of north China is desperately short of water, therefore all rain is good, therefore today’s weather is lovely!” Well, as it turned out, they were right- it was a horridly uncomfortable day soaked in humid muck, but this storm is more than making up for the day’s discomfort.

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