(reblog from 2015 for archiving) The Summer Palace and the pollution

First posted on TVG in China, 2015. I’m currently archiving old posts onto one blog.
On the day I went to the summer palace, disaster struck. Twice.
One was a ‘normal’ disaster – it rather annoyingly ended up being another one of Beijing’s notorious polluted days, making visibility poor, and health poorer.
The other disaster? my camera Lens did have auto focus until it decided to break at the steps of the Summer Palace. So, until I get a new lens, I’m on manual focus for now…
The pollution has been a lot worse since – this was just the start of the year’s bad winter pollution. This was well before the 600 pm of a few weeks back. Despite that, you would have thought it was fog causing the lack of visibility.
While I was taking photos with a half-broken lens, just to rub it in, there was a model shoot happening at the steps to the palace. Such a dramatic building would admittedly make a great backdrop for modelling.
One of the really interesting elements of the Summer Palace are the details in the architecture. China has a habit of looking strikingly simple at a distance, and then turning out to be strikingly detailed when you get closer.
As it is on the small scale, the Palace is just as grand on the large-scale, with all the sweeping rooftops you could wish for from a Chinese building.
The majority of the Summer Palace grounds is covered by a massive lake. This lake, which is apparently very beautiful, was quite difficult to see that day, and instead became a rather ghostly looking expanse of water.
I don’t know if it’s a normal thing or not, but for some reason the day I was there, a dancing group of Naxi people, one of China’s minority groups from the south west in Yunnan, was also there. I would never have associated Yunnan traditional dances with a location in Beijing, but fair enough.
Going there in the late autumn, the Palace’s most beautiful part with the turning trees.
Now leaving the Summer Palace behind, let’s return the focus to the lovely Beijing pollution.
The same day I went to the old Olympic stadium. The main park is all built alongside a massively long walkway, which happened to be very good at showing pollution levels. Remember that this isn’t that bad…
And finally, to finish off, a very polluted flag taking down ceremony at Tiananmen Square.
As a rule, there will always be a phone in the way. If you are somewhere where fewer than 80% of people aren’t using their phones, you aren’t in China.

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