It snowed yesterday here in Shanghai for the first time in about three years. I still see snow on the roof tops and some of the cars, but there isn’t as much as three years ago when I lived around East China Normal University (I’m a former student there) and I saw students building snowmen. The reason the headline to this post says “the first time ever” is that if you listen/read/watch state media here they seem to say that whatever major weather event is happening that season, it’s the biggest typhoon/highest temperature/coldest temperature/most snow that the Shanghai has seen in 10 years. This might seem like a cynical view, but hey I’m from Canada 2cm of snow on the ground doesn’t seem like a lot to me. Yes it’s beautiful and cleans up the dirtier parts of the city for a day or two, but it’s not worth it for the state media to talk about it like it’s a crisis. People seem to get a long just fine here (on a more serious note, temperatures just as cold as Shanghai are being experienced in Guangzhou and Shenzhen but without the snow — I don’t think Southern China is not prepared for snow).
In fact, they seem to treat it like rain, which I find the funniest thing. Watching people walk along in umbrellas during snowfalls is something I find strange, but then again people here think I am strange for abandoning the umbrella and just putting on my toque (knit cap to non-Canadians), scarf and gloves and walking through it. They keep thinking I’ll catch a cold.
For a great photo from Xujiahui Park, take a look at Shanghai Scrap.
Update: I spoke to Winnie this evening. She went home to Guangzhou yesterday for the Spring Festival holiday (I’ll be joining her on Saturday). China is undergoing a major cold snap right now and that means more snow in a lot of areas. That snow is blocking the railways which means a lot of the migrant workers in Guangzhou are stuck in the city and can’t get home. So the city is extremely crowded. It’s also quite cold for this time of year as well. Hopefully things will improve weatherwise by the time I arrive.
Update II: According to CNN International there are 100,000 train passengers stuck in Guangzhou. It looks like there will be more snow in Shanghai today (CNN is quoting 25mm) but it should be done by the weekend.