Brim­ming with cu­rios­ity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - Li Lei con­trib­uted to this story.

Chil­dren re­ceive cup­ping treat­ment for asthma at a hospi­tal in Bei­jing's Huairou district on Wed­nes­day, the first day of the hottest pe­riod of the year, ac­cord­ing to the lu­nar cal­en­dar. Dur­ing this pe­riod, peo­ple flock to tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine hos­pi­tals be­cause it is be­lieved that win­ter ill­nesses can be warded off in sum­mer by TCM pro­ce­dures such as acupunc­ture, cup­ping and scrap­ing.

Scenic spots of­fer­ing cooler weather are see­ing a surge in vis­i­tors, as peo­ple across north­ern China look to es­cape the cur­rent heat wave.

In the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, where tem­per­a­tures have risen as high as 47 C, many are head­ing to Nan­shan, a vast pas­ture about 55 kilo­me­ters south of Urumqi.

The area, with its forests, grass­lands glaciers and low cost — just 20 yuan ($3) to get in — re­ceived about 30,000 vis­i­tors last week­end, web­site Xin­jiangnet re­ported, cit­ing the park’s man­ag­ing com­mit­tee.

“With all the moun­tains, lakes and forests, it’s re­ally cool and comfy here, much bet­ter than sit­ting in an air-con­di­tioned home,” Wang Xue, who took her fam­ily to the park on Sun­day, told the web­site.

Peo­ple are also hid­ing from the heat in karaoke venues, shop­ping malls and parks.

Gao Guan­gling, 63, took her 18-month-old grand­son to cool off at a river­side park in Bei­jing’s Chaoyang district on Tues­day.

“Stay­ing too long in an air­con­di­tioned en­vi­ron­ment will def­i­nitely harm a per­son’s health, es­pe­cially young chil­dren,” she said. “The shade pro­vided by the trees here pro­vides nat­u­ral cool­ing.”

Mean­while, peo­ple in some cities are hav­ing to book KTV rooms up to two days in ad­vance be­cause of a spike in de­mand.

“I feel com­posed with the cool tem­per­a­ture in a karaoke venue, even if there’s a long line ahead of me to use the rooms,” Guo Nan­nan, a KTV cus­tomer in Urumqi, was quoted as say­ing by Xin­jiangnet.

The Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter is­sued an or­ange alert on Wed­nes­day, the mid­dle level in a three-tier warn­ing sys­tem for heat. That fol­lowed two yel­low alerts in the pre­vi­ous two days.

The cen­ter said 12 prov­inces, re­gions and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, most in North­west, North and East China, saw the tem­per­a­ture rise to be­tween 37 C and 39 C on Wed­nes­day.

In Shaanxi prov­ince and the Ningxia Hui au­ton­o­mous re­gion, lo­cal me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal au­thor­i­ties have is­sued red alerts since Tues­day, the high­est level in the warn­ing sys­tem, with the mer­cury hit­ting 40 C.

The heat wave is ex­pected to con­tinue, and doc­tors are warn­ing of the risk of sun­stroke, which can be life-threat­en­ing.

“We’ve seen a sharp in­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients with sun­stroke. To­day alone we re­ceived two such pa­tients in very se­ri­ous con­di­tion,” said Gu Chen­dong, deputy di­rec­tor of the emer­gency depart­ment at China-Ja­pan Friend­ship Hospi­tal, on Tues­day.

He sug­gested peo­ple cut the time they spend out­doors dur­ing the hottest hours, usu­ally 10 am to 3 pm — es­pe­cially the el­derly and chil­dren.

PU XIANG­DONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

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