So Hong Kong experienced it’s coldest weather in 60 years.* The temperature went down to two degrees. Buildings in Hong Kong are not built for the cold. Indoor spaces become like ice boxes and there is no central heating, so peeing at night is torture. Lessons learnt:
- I am not made for the cold. I cannot think properly and get all fuzzy. Also, I am one of those people whose extremities are cold at the best of times (there is a Chinese Medicine description for this kind of constitution, “damp” I think). So in cold weather, the tip of my (admittedly long) nose freezes (not literally, but it feels like it).
- Waving each item of clothing in front of the heater before putting it on is very helpful. Do not leave said item on the heater and wander off because: a) the heater has a warning on it that says not to b) the warning is there for a reason and that is that your shirt will burn and the room will smell and you won’t be able to open a window because it’s so frickin’ cold.
- Thermal underwear works. However, of course, you only remember you have some on the last day.
- Similarly, you only perfect the exact number of layers you need to wear to beat the cold on the last day. And then you forget, so next time you’ll have to start from scratch. Two layers of thick socks though.
- Kids will refuse to put on adequate layers because they just don’t understand the concept of cold. They probably feel weird but don’t realise it’s because of the cold. Instead, they argue with you about going to the park. The very thought makes you feel colder. Of course, one of them gets a cold.**
- This is not a good time to attempt sex. First of all, there’s the mere thought of taking one’s clothes off. How do people in cold countries have sex? Is there a way to do it with your clothes on? Strategic holes in clothing perhaps? But that would let the cold in. I know heating, but I mean before heating was a thing. Also, when your hands are so cold, do you want to be touching another person? Well, maybe to heat your hands, but that’s not very nice.
- Instead, one could take a hot bath. Except if you’re two adults, one fairly tall, in a not-fully-sized bathtub, it’s a bit of a squeeze. Still nice though.
- Weird things happen to the architecture. Like the lift doors won’t close properly, and the lift itself makes strange noises. You risk it nevertheless, because walking 20 plus floors is not an option. Your kids are apprehensive. You wonder how they sense the danger in going up in a rickity lift but keep leaping off furniture without narry a care.
- A number of air conditioning units allegedly have heating functions. I have never experienced a working one in Hong Kong, except once in the home of Nene’s wealthy friend.
Obviously, the worst of this is borne by homeless people. However, I did see the good side of Hong Kong people as many people organised collections and distributed blankets and warm clothes.
The Education Bureau closed kindergartens and primary schools for one day. I am on this mom’s group on Facebook and opinion was divided among those (presumably from cold countries) who thought it was ridix and others (more sensible in my opinion) who pointed out that infrastructure in Hong Kong is not made for cold, and that schools do not have heaters, even portable ones. Some complete noobs suggested all schools should be heated. Others rightly pointed out that public money couldn’t be wasted in anticipation of events that occur once every 60 years.
Are you a hot or cold weather person? Obviously, autumn is best.
* This statistic was rolled out like a mantra. My friend who was visiting was astonished at the number of people that said it to her as a greeting. She insisted that it was “not that cold”. However, she was staying in a hotel with double-glazed windows. Hmph.
** I know the (common) cold is a virus. However, (temperature) cold preserves the cold/flu virus and thus it spreads in winter. Hence, pre-winter is the reccomended time for the flu vaccine. There is a connection.