Me and Chairman Mao
  If you can't stand the heat ...
You guessed it: stay out of the kitchen. That doesn't really apply in my case though, because our kitchen here doesn't even have an oven, which--as everyone knows--is the primary source of kitchen-based heat (they're not so big on the baking here); and since we can eat out ever so much cheaper than we can in the states, not much cooking is done in said kitchen, oven or not.

But whatever, my less obvious than usual point is that it's hot here in Shanghai. Really hot. For the most part, every day in the three weeks we've been here has been the same: highs in the mid-nineties, lows in the low eighties, and cloudy. Sometimes it's even hotter: last Saturday, it was over 100. And you know how people say high temperatures aren't as bad when it's a dry heat? Well, I wouldn't have any idea, because it's not a dry heat here: it's a wet heat. A really freaking wet heat. I'm talking sauna wet. On a bad day, the percent humidity is somewhere in the nineties; on a good day, it's somewhere in the seventies; on a normal day, it's nestled snuggly in the mid-eighties. What does all this mean? Basically, that the maximum distance I can walk before I'm sweating like the last dumpling on a dim sum table is only about 1,000 feet. (That means I'm sweating a lot, in case sum of you are dim.) (Really, it just comes to me. Seriously--I'm not making this up. I mean, I am, but not in that way. Never mind ...)

Anyway, simply put, going outside for an extended period of time becomes very uncomfortable, very quickly. (I know, I know--for some of you, this type of heat is no big deal. But remember, I'm from Seattle, a place where cold means it's below freezing and warm means anything over seventy-five.) But I figured there had to be something more to it than just the temperature. I mean, sure, it's hot and humid, two things I'm not used to, but at some point I should adjust. It's not like I ever expect to wear pants (that's trousers for those of you from the UK, so stop laughing) when it's ninety-five, like many of the locals do, but it would be nice to be able to walk to the store and back without needing to change my shirt.

Then I saw this ad in a local magazine, and everything became clear. Notice the last line ...

So that's it, that's the reason for my discomfort: little did I know that Summer--a season that, being from Seattle, I hardly know and, living in Shanghai, I don't really like--has been crotching in on me this entire time. And sure, you'd think that after downing a few Tsing Taos you'd be flattered if a popular thing like Summer was crotching in on you, but it's not like this note is just to you or just to me. Remember, it was in a magazine for everyone to read, so apparently Summer crotches right up to everyone, not just the select few. I know, I know: what a hussy. And to think, I used to wonder why so many diseases--malaria, dengue fever, and so on--seemed to be associated with Summer. Guess I know now, huh? Apparently, sunscreen is not the only protection you should be concerned with when dealing with Summer. (Ding!)

Oh well. The bad news is that, from what I've been told, Summer still has a lot left in her and it's only going to get hotter and more uncomfortable as we move into August; the good news is that, some time in mid-September, Summer will take off and I'll hardly have to see her before we go back to the States next June.

Of course, after Summer leaves, it's time to deal with Autumn. Who knows what she's like, but hopefully she'll introduce herself with something more traditional, like a handshake ...

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