It’s November 15 in Beijing, and the reason I’m so happy is because this is the day that the heat in my building is turned on. In fact, this is the day that the central government has decreed that the heat can be turned on all over the city. That’s right, folks, the government decides the day the heat comes on. And why today? Well, because in the Chinese way of seasonal reckoning, today is the first day of winter, at least in this part of the country. Anyway, sure enough, I got home earlier this evening, and for the first time there is a bit of heat (not too much yet) wafting from the radiators in each room of my apartment. Mind you, it’s been on the cool side for some time, which means that my apartment has been quite cold as of late. Cement towers, once they are cooled, don’t warm up easily or quickly!
Cities further north in China are allowed to turn on the heat earlier, sometimes as early as November 1 or mid-October. But we’re still only talking about northern China here, which means north of the Yellow River. Basically that means that south of the Yellow River there is no such thing as central heating in homes. Again, by government decree. So while the real temperatures up here in the north are much colder in the south, the inside temperatures down south are much colder.
Give me indoor heat anytime. Please.