The sky is overcast. There's snow on the ground and the sun is trying to shine through the gloom. The air is acrid. You can taste it. But nobody is wearing a mask today as this is a pretty good day. What makes me sad is that the people that live here are used to it. And have to be happy with it.
Sometimes we have similar conditions in London. The pollution is dispersed evenly in the atmoshere so that gradually all our air on the planet will be like this. No blue sky, even in Provence.
There's lots to see in Beijing. A trip out to see the great wall, temples by the score and also one or two chinese restraunts.
My favourite is a visit to the Friendly Store. A place where you can buy your Pierre Cardin or Bose for next to nothing. Just dont try taking what you bought to France as you're likely to get locked up. They don't like fakes.
At the friendly store there is this terribly non British thing of bargaining. I find it embarrasing. Anyway I find myself emboldened by Claire's honed technique and manage to get a lovely cashmere scarf at 20% of the intial falsely inflated price. Job done.