How can the weather alter change the nature of the urbex landscape?
One of the things that you have to deal with in Beijing is the constant onslaught of crazy climate. It might be in the summer with sweat pouring down your butt crack, soot stuck to your face at Capital Steel, or on super smoggy day’s when you cannot see more than one hundred metres like at Sunshine Park.
Nothing is better that the first snow of the winter though, especially when it just so happens to be the day that you are going to the Banana Factory.
It’s is not really a banana factory, it’s a huge chemical works which stretches for miles and miles. The banana part comes in because the Chinese word for banana 蕉 and the Chinese word for chemical 焦 sound the same.
These tracks and the furnaces at the side are very similar to the ones at Capital Steel, just on a smaller scale. The blizzard that raged around the place though made it feel much more hazardous.
There are artefacts galore here at the Chemical Works, in fact most of the place looks like it has been swallowed up with orange mud and then left to fossilise.
There are broken remnants of the offices strewn about, and old laboratories still contain old machines and equipment.
The caption in the old style Communist propaganda sign above reads:- FOR EVEN HIGHER STANDARDS PRESERVE OUR YOUTH CULTURE BY HOWLING GLORY. I’m not really sure what that means either.
Here’s another of those meaningless signs. This ones reads:- ESTABLISH LEGAL SYSTEMS, PRACTISE SAFETY FIRST. At least that one is a bit less opaque.
Just like in Capital Steel, conveyor belts which used to transmit coal or slag from one side of the site to the other, curl up like the skins of long dead snakes.
The factory opens up into rooms and warehouses where the blanched walls run with chemical stains and spreading rust.
Light fittings decay in their settings and fall leaving russet stains in the fresh snow.
Thick Beijing dust absorbs the moisture in the air and becomes a thick crust of mud that covers and preserves the whole site.
The pipes and engines that ran the site have been gutted and torn apart by scavengers. Whatever is left behind rusts in a bed of snow.
The cooling tower stands on its spindly legs, a commanding presence over the site. Beneath the tower, all is still.
Beneath the abandoned cooling tower lies a pool of water rippling gently in the blizzard breeze.
One of the myriad entrances to the main building is affectionately referred to as CENTURY GATE. Did the architects realise their factory would be dead by the beginning of the new century?
Massive iron hooks swing on chains gently creaking.
Fume cupboards with their doors ripped off create caverns and caves in the site, ideal for hiding from security guards.
While it does have a lot in common with its older and much larger cousin Capital Steel, Jiaohua is a much more recently abandoned site and has a slight edge in terms of its charm. There are many more artifacts to be discovered, and it is going to be drawing Burbex back for more visits once the weather warms up.
For all of these reasons and more, Jiaohua is getting a solid A grade from Burbex. It should be noted that Jiaohua is slightly edgier in terms of danger, so if you are going to visit, please pay close attention to your safety.
Of course, should you need a guide, please don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can go along together. The cost you ask? One Banana Blizzard from Dairy Queen.