Saturday, November 14, 2009
As we waited outside for the school car that would take them to the airport, we shivered in the dismal weather. It was 33 degrees and sleeting heavily. Moments after they left the temperature dropped and the sleet changed to snow. Within a couple of hours everything was covered with snow, and it continued to snow all day long and into the next day. Apparently it’s the most snow they’ve gotten in years.
At the Xian airport, things were not going so well. Due to the snow and fog in Xian as well as storms throughout the entire northern part of China, 200 flights were grounded leaving 20,000 passengers stranded. My parent’s flight was supposed to leave at 11am…then at 2pm…then at 4pm. Sometime that evening, they actually got on the plane and sat on the plane for 7 hours before finally canceling the flight and sending everybody back off. After over 30 hours in the airport (where they met all kinds of interesting people and witnessed some interesting…ah…“social disturbance”), they were finally able to get to Beijing on one of the few flights that actually left that day. They said when the plane landed in Beijing everyone cheered. By this point they had already missed two international flights and had to wait for the next day, though fortunately this time at a hotel instead of the airport. I don’t know all the stories, so you’ll have to talk to them. But the happy ending is that they did finally get back home, only two days later than planned.
Back in Weinan, the snow is quite pretty, and we are quite cold. The weather has been maxing out in the 20’s and low 30’s and we still have no heat. It feels like Yangzhou. Wearing several layers of long-johns and a couple of sweaters. Sitting under blankets next to the tiny space heater. Unlike like Yangzhou, however, we will not stay this cold all winter. Tomorrow is the magical day…Heat Day!! An arbitrary date (November 15) on which these unknown heat-lords decide that it is late enough in the year for heat to be turned on all over the region. I’m going to stop writing before my hands seize up from cold, but before I do, one more thing almost as rare and monumental as Heat Day…
I actually put pictures online! The first ones really since last Christmas. So if you want to see a few pictures from my parents’ visit, you can check them out at www.flickr.com/photos/ruthiemarie.