Everybody complains about summer in the city, but I suspect a fair number of us secretly like it – I know I do. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s sticky and a little grimy. And yes, it would be nice to be at the beach, or cooling off in the mountains somewhere. But cities come alive in the summer. There are outdoor concerts and outdoor dinners, outdoor games of Chinese chess and outdoor kisses. And suddenly, there are people everywhere: diners spilling out of restaurants to eat on the sidewalk, kids splashing together at the pool, revelers toasting one another on rooftops, families roaming the streets, slurping after-dinner popsicles. Put together, it’s one big, sweaty symphony of noise and energy and skin, and it’s exhilarating.
So, I’m a fan of summers in the city. I consider them a reminder that one of the points of an urban existence is bumping up against all different kinds of lives, and then I consider this an excuse to make my own more fun and interesting. This summer issue of tbjkids, then, is brimming with other people’s lives and stories, and stuffed with suggestions for how to pack the maximim fun and excitement into your own family’s lives over the next two months.
Yes, two months – we’ve squeezed June and July into one extra-big, info-filled magazine. And in honor of this double issue, we decided to take a look at some kids who were born as duos – Beijing’s twins! Read about identical brothers Wei Cong and Wei Ming, whose parents were thrilled to be granted a biological exception to the one-child policy. In Launch Pad you can find out what soon-to-be graduates are expecting from life after Beijing, and in Sonic Showdown we give you a glimpse into the teen music scene.
But enough about other people – what are you going to do with yourselves this summer? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how much fun stuff Beijing has to offer families over the next two months. Our special Summer Survival Guide includes a summer camp roundup with more than 20 different camps, a guide to the best spots for a family BBQ and lots of entertaining ways to keep your cool when the mercury’s boiling.
When the sun is molten and the streets are packed, I occasionally get a little overwhelmed. But then the tinny music starts up and the old couples at Houhai start waltzing, or I round the corner and bump into a crowd of teenagers laughing and showing off on a basketball court, and the charm of the city reasserts itself: so many of us, laughing and sweating and living together.