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City wall of Xian in China

City wall of Xian in China

With the Olympics starting in Beijing in the upcoming week I have seen a lot of coverage about their anti-pollution measures. I was in China a year ago and was amazed at the amount of pollution in the air. When in Beijing the most of the counter measures were explained: closing the factories, planting millions of trees and pulling half the cars off the road. (They decided to pull all plates ending in odd numbers one day and even numbers the other. Of course plates ending in 0 have caused confusion.)

Anyway when I was in Xi’an after Beijing (took the night train there, those were short beds) we went to the top of the city wall and I was able to take this picture of lamps receding into the smog. I also could look down the main street of the city and only see four blocks down.

After the sun went down, it was hard to be outside with it up, we went to the main fountain by the Wild Goose Pagoda for a fountain show. The fountain was around three blocks long and half a block wide, dropping ten feet or so every block. I could not see into the fountain because there was a wall of people three deep around the edges of the fountain. As the show started I stood on a bench set back a bit to see the show. A few minutes later several “police” came by and told me to get down, well I assumed they did since it was in chinese, except these “police” were about twenty or so dressed in full pink uniforms. I wish could have gotten a clear shot of them but they were not the type of people who looked they would casually pose for a tourist.

The show began with lights and jets of water streaming into the air followed by classical music. A dozen or so minutes into the show we left our spot to walk around to the top of the show. Once there we realized why everyone was crowded on the edges of the fountain; the fountain was filled with people. Many were standing under the falling water from the jets but a few lucky individuals were held by their friends over the main jets of water. After the heat and smog the day it did not seem like a bad way to end the week.

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