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Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

United Kingdom
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Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Yangtse cruise, Shanghai, Hong Kong.

I'm going to say it.............. apart from Hong Kong the pollution in china is APPALLING! I'm stunned, it hangs like a ghastly hazy cloud of smog EVERYWHERE and I underestimated the level of it completely.

For the first 12 days of our trip we DID NOT SEE blue sky or clouds unless we were on an internal flight up in the sky. At each destination the guides said it was better than it normally is as these were 'good' days - how sad is that.

I'm not exaggerating when I say we couldn't see much more than half a mile into the distance ANYWHERE we went! The Yangtse cruise was probably the most disappointing, what should have been breathtaking views into the distance completely lost in filthy smog.

Don't get me wrong, we had a fantastic holiday and saw some outstanding things. I wouldn't change a minute of it, but I'm never going back unless I can actually see the sky above me and the views ahead of me. Sorry!

Shanghai, China
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1. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

I agree that the visibility in Shanghai has been pretty lousy these few days. However we had wonderful sunny weather and blue skies just 2-3 weeks back. You probably just missed it.

I've been living here for most of the past 4 years. There're good days and bad days just like anywhere else. Please don't think spending 2 weeks here just in these few places has given you a good idea of the situation here.

Kauai, Hawaii
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2. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

That's funny, I went to all those places as SagaLout plus Yangshuo and I thought that Hong Kong had far more smog / polution than any of those mainland cities. Of the mainland cities, I thought that the end of the Yangtze cruise downstream (Yichang) was the foggiest near the dam and Beijing probably second, but not bad at all in my opinion. We must have been fortunate with the weather last July.

United Kingdom
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3. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

We asked our local guide in Xian if it was always like this, she said they see the sky/clouds there about 6 times a year! I'd like to think the answer got lost in translation and that wasn't what she meant , but unfortunately her English was perfect.

Everyone commenting on the cruise was told "you're lucky, it's usually worse than this". We've just got all our photo's developed, no sky in any of them (except Hong Kong). We've got some fantastic shots which certainly 'tell it like it was'.

There did seem to be an element of 'denial' about the pollution, always referred to locally as fog or haze or humidity. In Beijing it was literally an extremely fine, powdery dust. You could feel it on your skin and our clothes were absolutely filthy.

I truly hope we were just unlucky in all these locations over 12 days, and that it genuinly isn't like that more often than not. It certainly bought an air of realism to Paul Merton's recent TV trip to China where he showed some of this - can't recall where he was at the time.

Oh well, we can agree to disagree. I can only judge on my own experience and it was still a fantastic trip. Who can complain when they've seen the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors!

Ottawa
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4. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

I suspect in some cities, polluted skies are pretty much the norm, but in others it varies. It sounds like your luck was particularly bad. I was in China briefly in late April/early May of this year. I never saw blue in my brief time in Chengdu, but was surprised at how clear the air was in Beijing. I'm not great photographer, but you can check out some of my shots at Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25804015@N00/sets/72157600289903108/). Some show grey, others crystal blue, sky.

United Kingdom
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5. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

snullr - I am suitably reassured! Definitely blue while you were there, I'd been feeling very sorry for the locals having to live like this.

I've been showing some of my pics at work - everyone is gobsmacked at the total lack of sky. I even appreciate our black thunderclouds earlier today - at least I can see them.

Hong Kong, China
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for Macau
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6. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

A lot depends on what time of year you go where ... in the Pearl River delta area (inc. HK & Macau) summer and autumn are usually clearer as the prevailing southerly wind pushes all smog back up north, but in winter / spring the winds are in the north and the further south you go the worse the air gets. In winter I could watch the smog pushing south across the sea from my flat in Macau and obliterating the land & sea-scape, but in summer I could see Lantau island (30+km) clear as a bell.

7. Re: Back from our 2 week holiday in..............

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