I was warned that winter in Beijing was not for wimps. The warning has been partially true. So far this winter there has been no snow, hells bells there hasn’t even been a drop of rain. It has been relentlessly dry,dry,dry.
Every day when I open the bedroom curtains I see an unsullied blue sky and relentless sunshine. This of course used to fool me into the belief that the temperature outside was not too bad. HAH! it is regularly -13°C, so when you step outside the cold hits you like a sledge-hammer.
Of course, our apartment building has central heating which is provided through the air con system and is super-efficient. As a result, like thousands of other Beijing residents, we were suffering from the extraordinary dry air in the apartment. We woke with dry, sore throats, I had regular nosebleeds, our eyeballs felt gritty. Skin was obviously dry and very itchy, and there was a huge build up of static so that whenever we touched anything – a cupboard door, the fridge, the door handles, we would get quite a large static shock.
It was getting me down. A week ago I was chatting to an Old Beijing Hand, and mentioned our problems. She said ‘my dear! has no-one told you? you MUST have an humidifier, everyone else does.’ I knew absolutely nothing about humidifiers, and certainly never expected to have to have one.
I rushed back here to the apartment and did some Googling, after a bit of digging around on the internet I concluded that the OBH was right.
So after doing my research into the various makes and how they operated I went out and bought one. AMM was more than a little sceptical but decided to humour me.
The good news is that it has worked! No more nosebleeds, no sore eyes, no sore throats, the static has diminished noticeably, and though this is a wholly unscientific observation, I think the air is now much nearer to ‘normal’ here in our apartment than it sometimes is in over-heated, double-glazed British homes.
The itchy skin is apparently a classic Beijing winter condition, and is dealt with by applying liberal quantities of moisturising cream or lotion after showering or bathing each day. I am happy to report that my skin is now as soft as a baby’s bottom!