During my five-year stay in Beijing, there has been a great deal of continuity in the summer months: a little heat, a little humidity, a dash of air pollution, and the odd proposition from a prostitute in and around the Lido Hotel. These are just things that I took for granted as a part of the season, like the first songbird of spring or black snow in winter.
Naturally, I found it a bit disconcerting that, even though I stayed in Beijing all summer and was frequently was in the Lido area, I was not approached once by a woman of ill repute. Perhaps global warming simply destroyed the climate for such industry in Lido. Or maybe the change in management at the Lido Hotel was the cause of this transition (i.e. security started doing a better job). Either way, I will now need to mark the passing of the season by some other measure.
It is a welcome change. The last time I was propositioned, I didn’t even know I had been approached by a “pro." As I walked down the hall from the hotel towards the Watson’s on the other side, a woman holding a Starbucks cup suddenly smiled and waved as if she recognized me. Naturally, my brain went into overdrive as I struggled in vain to remember which mother of my daughter’s classmates she must be.
“Hi, how have you been?” she asked in fair English.
“Good, thanks.” I answered as my brain failed to provide any useful background information on the person.
“Where are you headed?” she inquired politely.
“Oh, I’m just going to the bank,” I said.
“Shall I go with you?” she asked.
And that’s when my brain remembered it was summertime. I said, “No,” and I walked away secure in the knowledge that summer was in full swing. That was last year. This season, I eventually had to resort to a calendar to be certain of the arrival of summer. I guess even seasonal changes in Beijing are inevitable.
Photo from Wikimedia commons