Since the 1950’s November 15th has been a day that every one in Beijing has been looking forward to. This day is not a national holiday nor it is a date with historical significance. November 15th is the day when the city officials flick on the switch to turn on the capital’s centrally controlled heating system supplying warmth to most of the 22 million residents.
I recently just found out about this since temperature in Beijing has been getting much colder these past couple weeks. On October 16th I think the temperature was about 44 degrees and I was freezing. So pretty much until this date everyone, rich or poor, gets no heat in this city. Since the 1950s from November 15th to March 15th Beijing’s coal pumps have kept busy providing heat to city apartments and this schedule has rarely changed over the years. But there are some exceptions to this rule, and if it snows (like last year) before this date, government officials have promised to install heat accordingly. But until then we all freeze! Oh the beauty of collective living. I just think the person in charge of flicking on the giant switch to generate heat across the city has such a cool job. The countdown begins and we’re 2 weeks away!
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.