First of all, you have the two week stretch of November that is invariably the coldest of the year, thanks to the Government’s central heating rules. In America, you might think of central heating as the thermostat control that lets you turn up your heat as high as your electricity bill will allow.
In China, however, central heating is the neighborhood controlled system that allows one boiler to provide warmth to an entire village. In Beijing, November 15th is something of an informal holiday every year, as that is the date when the city’s boilers switch on. But for those first two weeks of the month, you find yourself bundling up to go to the bathroom, and showers gain you entry into the polar bear club.
The second sure fire sign of Autumn in Beijing is the deluge of 白菜 that descends on the city like an alien invasion. Harking back to the 3 vegetable winters of decades past, every old woman in the capital stocks up on the hardy cabbages, buying enough to last a family all the way to spring.
Speaking of alien invasions, I finally watched District 9 this week. Definitely worthy of all the hype. I especially enjoyed the father and son prawns. The strongest characters in the movie.
The only drawback was the documentary style. The feel of it was nice, but I was constantly annoyed because too often the scenes were shot in places and circumstances that never would have allowed for cameras. Inside the alien hideout? Close-ups during a firefight? If you are going to use the faux documentary technique, go all the way. Otherwise, YOU, the filmmaker, have violated our tacit agreement by which I, the viewer, have agreed to willingly suspend my judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.
And I hate it when that happens.