For old times' sake (updated)

Beijing, 3pm, October 22, 2008 -- 32 days after the Olympic/Paralympic emergency "clean air" rules came to an end. Feels like home again!

UPDATE: After a big thunderstorm last night and passage of a cold front, it's beautiful the following morning. Picture shortlybelow.

Here is what a good cold front will do! Same pattern during the Olympics. For the first two days of the Games, despite all the cleanup measures, the air was opaque. Then a powerful cold front brought intense thunderstorms, and behind it clear, cooler dry air. Problem is, the fast-moving fronts are much rarer in northern China than in the eastern two-thirds of North America,where they're moving through every few days. Subject for another time.

For now, the view on October 23, 2008, at noon: