It is very easy to breathe in the post-Olimpic Beijing, no matter what. It is easier than two years ago. The authorities have overcome sand storms by way of making a forest shelter belt. The trees have been taken from southern regions of the country. In addition, the authorities have closed hazardous industries and prohibited many automobilists and companies from using vehicles. In Beijing there are more than three million automobiles. The Government’s anti-smoking action has also been succesful: now one can seldom see a smoking person in the center of the city but there are many signs reminding of the adverse health effects of tobacco smoke. And there is no twenty-four-hour smog in the city. It appears only towards evenings. The wind blows it away in nights, and in the mornings one can admire the blue sky which is usually depicted in every possible guide-book.
The blue sky over the red walls of the Forbidden City. October 1st is the beginning of the national holiday of the Golden Week. It is a big family holiday. On this day people usually visit their parents, get together at the dinner table, go sightseeing and have rest from their labours in the bosom of the family. Relatives from the whole country come to eighteen-million Beijing. And on the first day of the Golden Week they decided to visit the Forbidden City, the second important sight of the capital after the Great Wall. I had never seen so many people in the streets. As a result, my planned visit to the former Imperial Palace looked very much like a crowd scene of some film like “The Hero”. The black masses flowed down the steps of the Palace to merge into the masses awaiting in the square.
On the same reason there was no chance to get to Shanghai in the beginning of October. And though there were multiple ways to get to the eastern capital of China, the transport network turned out to be paralyzed with the influx of passangers. But God’s will for everything. At that time Shanghai suffered from torrential rains and floods. Following a good weather I went to the south, to Nanchang. It was a city where the revolution had started, and where one could see second largest squre in China and second tallest ferris wheel in the world.