Tonight as I was riding home on my bicycle, I noticed the air smelled of smoke. When I got home I checked the Yahoo! weather for Beijing (I need to know how many layers of clothes to wear tomorrow), and, under "current conditions," it said, simply, SMOKE. This is the only city I know of where SMOKE is one of the possible descriptors used for the weather report. It’s not uncommon to get SMOKE this time of year because all across the North China Plains, peasants are burning the fields after the harvest. I’ve been in rural areas of Shandong this time of year where it was so thick you could barely see across the street.
But here’s a thought….in a society where 70% of the males smoke, does anyone really notice?