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A million miles away from China

Nine Ladies stone circle, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire, England

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Heat and sleeping

Before moving to Wuxi, I lived all my life in England, which means I had 30-ahem years where more than one day of 25°C + was described as a heat wave. There would be a rush on fans and barbecues, ice cream would sell out etc. So, when I read the description of Wuxi’s climate as being sub-tropical with August being the hottest month I didn’t really realise what that meant. After nearly two weeks here, I am starting to understand.

The temperature has averaged about 29-30°C since we have been here. However, it is very humid, so it actually feels about 10°C hotter. It doesn’t really get any cooler at night. So, I get up in the morning, shower, blow-dry my hair, get dressed and go out. Five minutes after leaving the nice air-conditioned apartment I find I am covered in a fine layer of sweat and my hair has turned into a giant frizz ball. 15 minutes later and I am searching desperately for anywhere that might have air-conditioning and my plans to explore the city are abandoned. So, I come home, have another shower and start again.

The heat makes it pretty difficult to sleep at night, especially when combined with the super hard mattresses (you can buy wooden mattresses toppers to make your bed even more uncomfortable if you choose). I wonder whether this explains the phenomenon of ‘people sleeping in strange places’ we have observed around the city. It is not unusual to see people asleep on furniture in Walmart, on a bench outside a restaurant, on a wall, on the pavement or even balanced across their scooter trolley and a railing. It seems to be quite an acceptable thing to do and I might be giving it a go myself if it doesn’t start to cool down soon.

Birthday

Today is my birthday and exactly 2 months and 7 days before we move to China. So, J and I decided to spend the day doing some of our favourite English things.

We woke up nice and early this morning and drove to Castleton in the Peak District. From the centre of the village we did a lovely 6.5 mile walk up to Mam Tor and along the ridge. The sun (mostly) shone, the birds sang and the sheep ignored us. After our walk we stopped at the Nags Head in the village for sausage and mash and a pint of real ale. Bliss.

I am really going to miss England. On the other hand, I am so excited to be going to China so I can find out what my favourite things to do in Wuxi are.