Chaoyang Birthday

Look at that haze: Air Quality Index: 200+

Super-hot bad air day for the rescheduled 9th birthday party. Thunder storm with lightning held off until an hour after. Chaoyang Park, ‘Beijing’s Central Park,’ has forest trails, boat rentals, sand beach, science museum…and amusement park. We had a suitcase of food, & donuts because anything frosted would melt.

Meeting place: Mod weird south gate

The adorable boys are from England, China, Australia, and Mexico. Some don’t like the feeling of g-force, some aren’t tall enough for the big rides. We tried to compromise to do most rides together.

…like a smaller roller coaster…

Everyone likes bumper cars…

Rides are embossed prominently, “Made in China.”

The Classic Flying Swing

Bless Andy’s mom Sai for coming, she made runs for bottled water, we went through more than 30; herded them from behind, and got group discounts by bargaining in Chinese at the ticket booths. They’re adorable and Ethan’s going to miss them. Stay in touch, please, Rowan, Riley, Max, and Andy, wherever in the world your families go!

Third grade buddies, Chaoyang Park, Beijing.

Ethan will miss you guys.

British Curriculum continued yet again

Before the tournament

By Kenny

Hi folks BSB curriculm is back yet again!!! Whoo hoo!

So there was a Halloween disco and all you people at Glenfield are thinking, “No way, there was one at Glenfield, too, what a coincidence!” On the bad side it had ear-deafening music for 3 hours. On the good side, it was not just middle school, it was all of secondary school year 7 through 13. It was older music and there was dirty music. If you played it in Montclair they would sue the d.j.!

If you’re thinking, “Oh no, help! Montclair is so polluted what are we going to do?? Oh, I know, at the Science Fair my darling can do a Going Green project.” Well you know what? In Beijing it’s so polluted sometimes we have to wear an air mask. Do we have to do that in Montclair? I didn’t think so. And if it gets over 250 on the air quality, we can’t go outside for break. It’s not too snowy, it’s not too hot it’s too much pollution. So you know what Gray Russell, it’s pointless. You don’t need to clean up Montclair we need to clean up Beijing!

So if you’re wondering what it’s like for some of the kids at my school. A driver might pick them up from school in a Mercedes and after a drive to their house there is a big gate and there is another door. If you ring the door bell a lady could open it who is one of their ayis (a maid, ayi means “auntie”). If you look around you will see another ayi in the kitchen, and an ayi cleaning up stairs. WOW i wish i could have that.

Back to actual campus guess who’s coaching volley ball, the teacher who calls me “Sweaty Boy.” I don’t want to know what will happen if we lose a game.

But here’s the grand finale at a big football (soccer) tournement in the semifinal game i get tripped dribbling the ball, my jaw goes into a guy’s shoulder. He starts fake crying and i get a %$*#($&^! yellow card and the thing is, it hurts when I talk but I keep playing. We lost that game but we had to play one more game for 3rd place. And the thing is, I am centre of defense so I have to talk a lot and I still play and we won 3rd place!!!

That concludes for today time for lunch bye.

The Sun’s Gonna Shine

After a rain, the sun just came out!! View from our balcony.

Beijing city gates throughthe smog, yesterday, AQI around 385.

In Los Angeles, air pollution rated 90 on the AQI (Air Quality Index) has been shown to hurt kids’ lung development. Over 100 in most places is called “ozone alert day,” unsafe for sensitive people, like those with ashthma. The danger here is ultrafine dust. The same EPA index (there’s a monitor on the rooftop of the American Embassy) rated Beijing’s air the past few days over 300, or “Dangerous.” “Emergency” conditions occurred, with AQI over 500 (also called “Beyond Index,” and “super crazy bad”) twice this fall. Once was Sunday.

Note that 200 is four times worse than 100, and Beijing is only China’s fourth most polluted city.

Expats are obsessed with this. We “splurged” on a Swedish air purifier for the kids’ room. The international schools use air purifiers and cancel recess and sports over 250. Our special Japanese “Totobobo” masks required a daytrip to the 1 store that carries them.

China Daily today reports today Chinese lung cancer rates up 50% in the past decade, nationwide. (Pancreatic cancer, newsy after Steve Jobs’ death, was reported, in Shanghai, to be up 500% in 2010, versus 1980.)

Considering the lavish love given to [only] children here, the carefree attitude about kids’ seatbelts & helmets surprises. Brilliant academics don’t have air purifiers at home.

And I have never seen an air mask on a child.