Summer in Northeast China – I had thought, incorrectly, that being so far North that the summers would not be too hot and definitely hot humid. I was VERY wrong!!
Last August when I arrived, the heat and humidity were shocking. I just thought maybe it was a fluke. Nope. This summer, the heat and humidity started in early June. I live in an apartment with no fridge and no fan (which I have wanted to buy but have had no luck in finding!). At least with a fridge, I could stick my head in for a few minutes to cool down but no such luck! It is even unusual to find a shopping centre with air conditioning to escape to.
When I lived in Canada, I would notice Asian women walking around with umbrellas in the summer. I always thought that was very strange and could not understand why they do that. Now that I have been living here for a year, I understand. They want to protect themselves from the heat and humidity. They also want to make sure they do not get tanned and are protecting their skin. The women who see me walking around without an umbrella or a hat on (yeah yeah I know – I should wear a hat – I just hate hats) will come up to me and gesture to my head, and my skin. Some have even pointed at the freckles I have on my chest from too much sun in the past. They appear very concerned for my well-being (or perhaps they are pointing at me and talking about me to each other – which is of course very possible!). I have not succumbed to buying a hat or using an umbrella (I have started using sunscreen though!), although the umbrellas they use to protect them from the sun are beautiful!!
Suncoats are something new for me to see. I had seen people wearing them and had asked one of my Chinese friends about them – and they are thin coats with UV protection in them. I am not even sure how that works – but when looking at them at a store, they had an English label confirming that it had UV protection. They are popular with the younger generation. I still find it quite odd that when the temperatures are in the mid- to upper-30s (as they have been the past two or three weeks every single day), there are so many people covered from head to toe!! Yes wearing hats is a sensible thing to do. I understand the umbrellas. But being completely covered up and clearly sweating profusely doesn’t sound like much fun to me! I am a menopausal woman – hot flashes and ridiculously high temperatures are enough to make me want to walk around naked outside!! I could not imagine wearing so many clothes during a heat wave.
This is just another Chinese thing that I find very interesting!!