A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward in the New China

By Kirsty Needham | Go to book overview

12.
Hot in the City

The summer heat in Beijing seeps like a smog through your brain. Each breath of thick air crawls down the throat, sinks into the lungs and sticks there.

I could see my feet walking, one step after the other, but I barely knew it. They took me to Wu-Mart, the discount department store, to buy an electric fan. It only whirred the warm sludge around my lounge room. I ate tubs of green tea ice cream in vain. Icy poles that were shaped and tasted like corn cobs didn’t work either. I would have liked to try Beijing men’s perennial summer fashion statement, of pulling T-shirts up to armpits to expose and cool large fleshy stomachs, but modesty prevented it.

The daylight was crushing and had an eery orange tinge as the sun’s rays battled through a chemical-filled, particlecharged atmosphere. At night the heat was white and heavy on my shoulders. Beijing had become a nocturnal city, where no one slept day or night. The old people stirred to life at sunset, coming down from their kitchens to sit on the

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A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward in the New China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue - Laowai, 2004 ix
  • 1 - Red Fever 1
  • 2 - Yellow Dust 12
  • 3 - China Daily 35
  • 4 - Certified Expert Foreigners 59
  • 5 - Dragon Gorge 70
  • 6 - Sars and Propaganda 86
  • 7 - A Captive Audience 102
  • 8 - Sky 128
  • 9 - The Campaign against Youth Spiritual Pollution 153
  • 10 - Street Scenes 180
  • 11 - When Red Means Go 194
  • 12 - Hot in the City 208
  • 13 - Gaining a Name, Losing Face 224
  • 14 - Checking out 247
  • Acknowledgments 271
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