After almost a month I have found my daily routine. In the mornings, I get up around 6am, have breakfast at 6:30am and I’ll start my US calls from 7-11am and then head for the Microsoft Research office in Haidian, Beijing. If I have a late office start like this, then I tend to grab a DiDi at 11am because its faster and traffic isn’t too bad at that time. If I don’t have a 7-8am call, then I grab the subway (line 1 and 4) at 7am to the office. During rush hour nothing beats the subway. It’s packed but it is still the fastest and most reliable way to get from A to B. In the afternoon I typically take the subway home although if I must be in another part of town then DiDi is a more convenient mode of transportation.
During every US conference call I’ve had during these last few weeks, the first question on people’s lips is: How is the COVID19 situation in China? Well, it is basically none existent. There is no COVID19 in Beijing or most of China. There are some outbreaks in southern China, largely brought in by overseas shipping crews, but as soon as those are detected the Chinese government clamps down on them in full force. I’ve seen photos of folks with blankets and pillows queuing up for their quarantine facilities. They don’t take half measures. You must give the Chinese government credit, they do understand the power exponentials.
Talking about the Chinese government, the 100-year anniversary of the China Communist Party (CCP) is coming up on July 1st. There are posters and signs across the city to remind folks of this. There are also a lot of festivities planned around the forbidden city, but only for the folks that are invited. None of the regular Beijingers are invited, nor are they aware of the exact plans that day and much to my surprise it isn’t even a national holiday.
I’ve decided to take July 1st off and use one of my Well Being Days. I’m not sure this is a global concept inside Microsoft, but I’m taking one anyway because the situation around my Beijing apartment will be a madhouse. I’ve already seen the practice flyovers of military fighter jets last weekend and this morning they were putting up the fences just behind my apartment to block off the streets. They are closing off most of the area around the forbidden city and it’s no longer the police who are guarding the street corners but it’s the military. I’m expecting a full military parade that I remember from the old communist Moskou May 1st celebration news reals, but no one can tell me exactly what the plan or schedule is.
I’m pretty sure though that if I go out my apartment on July 1st, I better take my passport with me so that I don’t cause another incident.