Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Wonderland

People in Hong Kong have been complaining about the cold all winter. That makes sense since it’s usually hot & humid in Hong Kong. This winter seemed colder than the last, but it still stayed around 15 Celsius. That’s pretty cold for Hong Kong – where it’s around 32 most of the year – but nothing compared to winters back home.

Minneapolis is usually below freezing from November to March. December to February regularly dip below 10F. That’s -12C. It never gets anywhere close to that in Hong Kong. In fact, the lowest I’ve ever seen it in Hong Kong is a typical October back home – around 45F/7C.

This year has been special for the United States. It’s been a colder than average winter, but what everyone’s talking about is the wind chill. A lot of arctic air has been coming down and freezing people’s butts off. I think it’s funny because we get that every year in Minnesota. Cold air from the arctic hits Alberta and cuts through Minnesota before it warms up and makes its way across the eastern United States. Only this year it’s hitting most of the Midwest and East coast.

When it’s 0F, Alberta clippers knock it down to -15F. That’s very cold for places like New York, but typical winter in Minnesota. People see that it’s -45F in Minnesota with the wind chill and get alarmed, but we’re used to it. It doesn’t stay that cold all winter. That’s only for a few days. We also build our houses for the cold and have plenty of warm clothes. Cold is only cold when you’re not prepared for it.

If it ever got to -45F in Hong Kong, there would be a state of emergency. A lot of people would die because no one here is prepared for that kind of cold. Hong Kong houses are built for the heat. Winter clothes here are mostly pretty weak – and the boots are a joke. I’ve never seen a true parka here. People buy big coats that they think look warm but wouldn’t help you at all in a blizzard. It doesn’t matter because it never gets that cold in Hong Kong.

People in Hong Kong always ask me how I can go outside in winter without a coat. It’s because I don’t think it’s very cold. That doesn’t make me stronger than they are. I’m simply used to much colder weather. I’m still getting used to Hong Kong summers. While everyone else is wearing sweaters at night, I’m boiling in a t-shirt & shorts. It’s not even the heat, really. It’s the humidity. I’ve been here 3 years and I’m still adjusting to the humidity.

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