Tag Archives: summer

Without a care in the world…

22 Aug

Our time home in Michigan earlier in June made me remember so many of the wonderful things that are summers “Up North.”  Even though our trip was too short (they always are), we found time to do many of the things that scream “summer” to me.

Summer is having the time to watch a sunset,

Sunset with airplane trails

Time to sit out on the dock and count the pebbles under the clear water.

Classic dock

Summer is playing mini golf (and eating fudge)

He did hit a hole in one on one hole

He did hit a hole in one on one hole

and going to the beach and only worrying that your hat will blow away.

Yellow hat at beach

It’s wandering over to watch the windsurfers do amazing tricks as the sun starts to sink down.

Windsurfers

Summer is finding time to lay in the hammock with your sweetie

Hammock with feet

and finding animals in the clouds floating in the big blue sky.

Puffy clouds & hammock

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree – to see how others posted about this topic, please click the link.

Thinking about this topic, China is not a place where I can be carefree.  I have many good times, enjoying life with friends and family – but it’s different.  Enjoy this version of carefree from me.

Where are you without a care in the world?

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Update on Shanghai Summer

2 Aug

I posted earlier this week about the summer in Shanghai and the heat wave that continues.  Many of you shared stories about living through the heat.

Thank you for your comments and stories and mental wishes to help me keep cool.

Unfortunately – it was not enough.

Wednesday evening the air conditioner in our bedroom broke.  I woke up a couple of hours after falling asleep to temperatures inside my apartment soaring.  The heat was stifling.  We stumbled into the guest bedroom, turned on the air and fell into a restless sleep.

We contacted the landlord early Thursday morning, but because of the heat wave, the earliest that we may be able to get it fixed is end of day Friday, or maybe Saturday.

I am lucky that each room in the apartment has its own air conditioner, so it is far from the worst case scenario, but it has contributed to even more of a “heat daze.”  I have lived through heat before, but this is ridiculous.  My work papers are all up for renewal meaning I don’t have my passport at the moment or I would seriously consider fleeing the country!

The weather report continues uninterrupted – hot days and hot nights.  When the heat does finally break I feel that everyone here deserves a medal – survival of the fittest!

Signing off – and trying to keep cool from steamy Shanghai.

Shanghai summer

30 Jul

This time of year the heat is overpowering – I’ve written about it before, but every year it comes back.

Since I have come back from Taiwan the heat has been almost unbearable – close to 40 degrees C or 105 degrees F.  I have gotten to the point where I have noticed that my earlobes are sweating.  That’s pretty hot!  Even the occasional thunderstorm doesn’t cool things down.

We have the air conditioning on the entire time we are in the apartment, even for sleeping, but the heat puts me into a daze.  Ick.

Looking at the weather report for the next two weeks there is no respite, just continuous high temperatures with the heat index pushing even higher.  It could continue this way until September.  I’m not sure if I can handle another month.

One positive is that because of the wind from the typhoons the pollution is blown out of Shanghai.  That means that the sunsets are truly remarkable – a beautiful close to the day as I make my way home through the heat.

The heat is almost worth it - what a beautiful sunset!

The heat is almost worth it – what a beautiful sunset!

Another good thing that I especially like about this time of year though is the summer peaches.  This year my husband had a colleague whose family has their own peach trees.  The colleague brought in over a dozen peaches for every person.  The night Li brought them home we feasted on the sweet summer fruit, juice dripping down our elbows and our chins as we enjoyed this symbol of summer.

Perfect summer peaches - soon after they were devoured!

Perfect summer peaches – soon after they were devoured!

My Shanghainese colleagues swear that the summers were cooler when they were children.  I don’t know if that is true or not – it’s difficult to tell, but I certainly hope so!

I am of the firm belief that many places in this world would not become what they are today without the invention of air conditioning.  I can’t imagine living in Dubai or even Singapore without its cooling breeze.  Our world would be different.  Even the Founding Fathers in Washington, D.C. had the good sense to exit the area in the summer because it was too hot.

Our ability to handle heat changes over time as well – I have a coworker who is Malaysian but he says he can no longer take the heat of his hometown.  Another friend who is Indonesian says the same thing.  Maybe air conditioning has made us soft?

What has been the hottest weather where you have lived?  I don’t mind heat during the day, but when it doesn’t cool off at night it is tough to handle.   Soon though I’m sure we’ll be saying it’s too cold!

Hope you’re enjoying your summer!  May August be full of friends, sunsets,  barbeques and beaches for you.

Exploring Shanghai – Sheshan

24 Jun

My original impression of Sheshan was that it is an amusement park.  There are signs in the subway advertising Happy Valley – Shanghai’s answer to Six Flags or Cedar Point.  It is much easier to get there now – there is a Sheshan subway stop off of Line 9 and from there a free bus to the park.  Line 9 is new – just two years old – so before that if you drove it was over an hour and a half to get there.

A couple of years ago Li and I went to the big Dinosaur Amusement Park in Changzhou and while we had considered going to Happy Valley, the fact that Li tends to feel ill on roller coasters and the high admission price meant that we had taken a pass to date.  So, I was pretty surprised when a couple of weeks ago Li asked me if I wanted to go to Sheshan with him and his parents (they were in town).

It turns out that Sheshan has had a long history in Shanghai – it was the site of one of the first Catholic churches, dating back to the late 1800s and it also was the site of the first astronomical observatory in the Shanghai area.  She Shan (She Mountain) itself is actually the highest point of land in the surrounding vicinity which was why the observatory was located here.  The park houses a museum with the original telescopes and a great collection of space photos as well as the church and surrounding grounds.  It also includes photos of the original founders – they were all French brothers and priests who came to Shanghai in the late 1800s and early 1900s, that is until they were all “asked to leave” in the 1940s.  At that point there was a large gap in the history of the observatory that picked up in the 1980s.  Entrance was free (rare for Shanghai) and there also is a small amusement park there, but the big Happy Valley Park is 20 minutes away.

We got there with no problems with the main difficulty being the weather.  It was hot – over 90 degrees and climbing steps up a mountain in that type of heat is not fun.  I had two bottles of water and a popsicle by the time I made it to the top and another bottle and two more popsicles before I made it down.  At the top where the cathedral was it was a little cooler and we filed into the church to look at the windows and altar.  In the middle of all of the hubbub a group of people came in and started performing a mass – complete with a guitar player.  It felt very intimate and I stayed for the first 10 minutes or so before joining Li and his parents outside for a few more photos.

After our climb up and down we all needed lunch and so we had a late lunch at a small restaurant just outside the gates of the park.  At that point my jet lag and the heat caught up with me, so I gave my regards and headed back to the subway station alone.  On the train back to the city center the air conditioning blasting I had to rummage through my bag for a big scarf to cover my shoulders and avoid freezing.  Ironic.

The day trip was a realization that close to home there are a lot of different things for me to see.  I would go back, but choose a cooler day for sure.  Any similar experiences when you’ve traveled with visitors?

Summer has arrived

12 Jun

I left Shanghai mid-May where there were still cool nights, jackets and no need for air conditioning.  There was a lot of rain but everything was green in a hopeful spring way.  I came back mid-June to 90 degree weather, sweat and humidity as soon as you step out the door, my glasses fogging up and trying to balance between freezing with the air conditioning on and sticky without it.  Clothes no longer dry due to the fact that humidity approaches 90% and my summer wardrobe is still packed away in the back of my closet.  The jeans and jackets I’ve lived in for the last several months are now to be retired until the cool of October returns.

Wandering through the city signs of summer are everywhere.  The impromptu watermelon stands – a truck at an intersection filled with sweet melons and a woman working a scale that is likely older than I am.  Storefronts that were vacant a few days ago now piled high with musk melon and cantelope and watermelon plus other melons that I don’t know the English names for.  They can be so sweet that the flies follow you home, attacking the juice through the plastic bag.

Pajamas have returned to the streets (and supermarket) in full force.  Men and women clad in stripes and plaids – sometimes if it is especially hot the men forgo the top half.  A couple of years ago a good friend gave me a coffee table book by a Shanghai photographer of street life here with two chapters dedicated to pajamas on the street – it’s called Planet Shanghai by Justin Guariglia. The pajama frame of mind extends later and later into the morning until sometimes they are the only thing people wear.  I still don’t understand this – but it fits with a life lived in the street, with card games in the alleys and dinner al fresco for the world to see – and comment on.

It is now hot enough that you stop getting looked at funny if you ask for a cold drink at lunch.  Ice cream stands and coolers are at the ready for all types of flavors – from green pea to corn to berry and yogurt and tofu.  I will start making popsicles as soon as I make the trip to the store for the bottle of grape juice that I’ve bought the last several summers.

Last year was a relatively cool summer except for a two or three week period at the end of July.  I am nervous that if June is already this hot July and August will be unbearable.  Waiting for the elevator I struck up a conversation with a woman in her 60s or 70s.   “Pretty hot weather today, isn’t it?”  Her response, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”  She may have been speaking mandarin, but it certainly sounds familiar to me.

How do you celebrate summer?  What signs of summer do you look for?  Has summer arrived where you are?

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