It looks like we came in just in time to see record setting smog:
Bad Even For Beijing: Smog Hits Extreme Levels
I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but now I'm not sure. To be fair, it has been crazy in the past two days but it is still amazing. Yesterday, we didn't even go out in the evening as it got worse.
I have an app on my phone that monitors the air quality. 500 is off the charts, 755 is the worst anyone I've talked to here has seen. It is like a bad fog, only it isn't fog, it is smog.
Here is a snapshot of the US Embassy numbers yesterday:
Today I went out and bought charcoal filter masks so that if we are absolutely forced to go out in the air we aren't breathing the pure smog into our lungs. Believe it or not, when you blow your nose after being in Beijing for a while, little pieces of black dust particles come out, it grosses me out. When everyone was complaining about fog Saturday morning, we were enveloped in smog.