No matter how strong you are, Beijing flu will get you. It’s a fact. In winter – with winds, in summer – with a contrast between oppressive heat and air conditioning (yet to experience). Not enough by itself? Of course not, you’re strong, right? Well, crappy ecology takes it toll too: smog is real, and its effect is not just in making all your pictures look black-and-white (or more like gray-and-not-so-gray). It stinks. Bad. Like someone is trying to smoke something by burning varnished lampposts. Right outside your window. And the closer, the higher your floor is. Mine is 18. The smog clogs up your pores (that’s the only highly visible effect), and so it’s rare to see a Beijinger with a perfect skin.