Yes, it’s been cold in China these past few days. Hand’s up all those who noticed.
As a polar vortex cascaded down the country bringing some of the lowest temperatures seen (or should that be felt?) in decades, Hong Kongers mostly spent their time preparing for the apocalypse and getting stranded on Tai Mo Shan in a desperate hunt for snow, frost or anything else white and cold.
It was reported that up to 500 people wound up needing to be rescued by emergency services as Hong Kong’s tallest mountain recorded its lowest temperatures ever at the summit – a pretty nippy -5.7 degrees. Schools were closed, outdoor events were cancelled, but although everyone had spent the week hoping for its arrival, the much-anticipated snow never came.
Here in Shanghai, it reached as low as -7°C, and since decent snow is pretty much unheard of here too, I embarked on my own snow quest by travelling an hour down the line to my beloved Hangzhou. As it happened, the snow had, for the most part, turned to sleet by the time I arrived on Friday night. But there was just enough left to make it worthwhile.
Here’s a quick pic from the top of Beishan overlooking the northern part of West Lake. If you want to see more photos of a snowy Hangzhou, check out this collection from three years ago when the snow started on the night I arrived and didn’t stop until everything looked beautiful.