Beijing, as I am sure other cities, has its own unique way of judging the air quality. The scale starts at 1A here which basically means an absolutely fabulous day with blue skies, white clouds and within reason, nothing to worry about. It then moves up the scale from Great to Really Scary. We usually see a 2B day with 3A’s thrown in here and there. Each one of these comes with a suggestion of what is acceptable to do outside.
The school has incorporated an air quality rating within the standards for the school which is terrific. We are able to judge what the students will be allowed to do based on the daily email we receive and not spend forever sending emails back and forth to everyone trying to figure out what to do.
Today was one of those Getting Scary days which wasn’t helped by the fact that we were once again trying to have our Sports Day. The reading was a 4A the highest we have seen during school days this year. Immediately, everyone knew that once again Sports Day was called off. (The previous Monday the government mandated 3 days of official mourning.) We are going to try for next Monday, no make it Tuesday, no let’s go back to Monday – that is how the emails went this morning. I was just confused at the end.
Ok, the reason for the lousy reading was a sandstorm or more appropriately called a dust storm. This is the time of year that Beijing experiences this phenomenon. We are located just 120 miles away from the Gobi Desert and with it creeping closer and closer to the city every year we get hit by wind and dust storms. The wind is strong and the sky turns a very interesting colour and everywhere there is a thin layer of yellow dust. Last night, I went to bed early to be ready for sports day and about 11 pm a huge thunderstorm hit. Then the wind stated howling outside my apartment and the steady wind brought with it the dust.
Why is this even an issue big enough in my mind to spend time blogging about it? I have a headache and I keep sneezing even after taking two Claritan, my throat is scratchy and I am thirsty. Of course, there is a discussion about whether this is caused because of the outside conditions or the fact that the kids have been inside the entire day with no outside playtime. Actually, both of those reasons come down to the same reason.