Summer is coming…
Forget that Game of Thrones is going to experience the worst winter in the characters memory, here in Chengdu we are in summer. And it’s hella’ hot! Now if you’re from the north of Scotland like me you might not be equipped for the heat. Considering we reach the glorious temperatures of 20 degrees and that is still too hot for whiter than milk skin. It’s only May and already we’re reaching the high 20’s into the 30’s, and needless to say i’m melting. The local teachers keep reminding me that it’s only going to get hotter. So what can I do other than throw myself onto the ice rink in our mall? Well here a few things that you can look forward to and help yourself with in summer in the ‘du:
1. Thank you air con!
So when I arrived in my school we were having a discussion with the mall about changing our air flow from hot to cold because the kids were suffering. They said that because it wasn’t summer they couldn’t change it. So as soon as the government announced it was summer, cold air began to flow and it was good. I swear I stood under the vents for a good hour just freezing myself to get the good out of it in case it broke! I’ve since found out that summer means cold air flowing everywhere, buses, subways, public buildings, restaurants and shops so it’s easy to forget the incredible heat outside.
2. Cold drinks!
So, if you have lived in Chengdu before summer you’ll know that they don’t serve cold water, their fridges are basically room temperature and almost anything comes hotter than normal even when its warm outside. When it becomes summer, everything goes cold. The shops turn their fridges down and the water served in restaurants in nice and cold. Which is great for me because I can open the fridge in the 7/11 and stand there for a few minutes “choosing” a drink, when I get one it’s beautifully cold.
3. Sun screen!
Since the weather is now officially going to get hotter sun screen is becoming more available. However, unless you’re in an import store it’s near impossible to find a decent sized bottle. They’re all tiny travel sized bottles and some contain added whitener. So watch out for the labels, you don’t want to put on your factor 20 and realise that you’re getting whiter not tanned. Also if you’re like me and burn as soon as you think of the sun you’ll be lucky to find anything above factor 30. It still is better than nothing but you have been warned.
4. Umbrellas aren’t just for rain!
Can’t find sun screen? no worries, just pop your brolly up and you have instant shade. And it’s not uncommon either. You’ll see lots of locals doing it too because pale skin is still seen as beautiful. Also it’s handy to have one in case it rains.
Watch out for little blood suckers! They’re every where. Thankfully anti mosquito plug ins and sprays are readily available from any supermarket. I use the spray for my clothes and bed sheets. It also smells a bit peppermint-y so you can use it a body spray and no one will know.
6. Spray water is a thing!
You get these cans of water that mist on your face or body. They are a miracle! Genius who ever thought of them. I have it in my school to save me between classes. A quick spray and I’m ready to go again… just don’t spray to close to your face or your mascara will run!
Although they are quick to change the air con and fridge temperatures to cold, they are equally as quick to change them back again. But for now enjoy the cold air! I’m not built for the heat but I am taking it one day at a time knowing that coffee shops and shops have cold air so I can duck into their for a few minutes to cool off, and cold showers are also nice at the end of the day too. Summer is a beautiful time to see all the new flowers, hear the birds and wander around the city’s parks watching ladies dancing or playing tai chi. When you have a day off it’s easier to want to get up early and travel a little bit further out of the city to see the wonderful sites. As long as I have a brolly and a bottle of water i’m all right.