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  1. Popcorn Sutton

    How to survive hell (or a Hangzhou summer).

    Well it is that time of the year. To all newbies to H-town, summer has begun and the weather will stay this way until around October 1. yes, October. The temperatures will taper off a bit come September, but it is not uncommon for it to stay in the 30's C or 90's F in September. it is as hot here as it is in Bangkok, Thailand (actually for 7/12, Hangzhou is hotter than Bangkok) with the same humidity. Humidity is important because it will cause one to sweat and the need to refurbish oneself with water. Heat is different depending on the hunidity levels. 35* with low humidity is almost nice and swimming pool weather, 35* with 80% humidity is hot death. I humourously say that it feels like being in a dead dog's butthole. Note, not all places, like convenience stores and shops have cold water and the bottled water may be warm or tepid, due to the idea of Chinese that cold liquids is bad for them. So it pays to notice shops and places near your home or work location which offers cold drinks and patron them (and if you speak Chinese well, praise them for having cold drinks). Not always, but many times KEDI shops have cold drinks. But again, to my annoyance, there are a lot of drinks in refrigerators with the power off. Be also aware that sometimes in an office or somewhere you might ask for a cup of water and get hot water. Try to stay out of the midday sun. Pretty much a "duh" saying, but it would behoove anyone to try to do their business either early in the day or later in the afternoon. If it gets too hot, you can duck into a bank or a nice hotel with a lobby. 99 percent of the time, the staff will not bother you at all and allow you to have a rest to cool down. The Bank of China, or really all the major banks have lobbies and since Chinese bank services are usually slower than a dead turtle, you sitting there soaking up their air conditioning wont put you out of place. Wear light clothing. White clothes, t-shirts, what have you. A hat would also be good if you like hats. You can be fashionable, but being cool is better than being comfortable. Most Chinese, especially the provinical ones, like to roll up their shirts to expose the belly or roll up the pants legs. Couldnt care less. When it is 37* with full on humidity, being cool supersedes looking like an idiot. The taxi drivers will not run between 3:00-5:00 pm as a rule, especially around the 4:00 time. At 4:00 pm, the taxis wont pick up anyone. You can be Xi Jin Ping, Jackie Chan or the most beautiful woman in Asia, and they will not pick your ass up for nothing. It pays to know the bus routes. Because again, the taxi drivers may or may not be out to accept passengers. I for the most part like the Hangzhou busses and have no problem using them and while sometimes they are packed tighter than a sardine can, usually one can find a seat or standing room has room, and more often than not the busses are cool. For some reason, the Chinese do not have the concept of central heat and air and have to rely on these air conditioners, which are usually large floor units or mounted on a wall. The floor units usually work OK, but the wall units are usually pieces of shit which breaks down. It's not your unit, it is everyone's unit. Also be aware in an office environment that Chinese love to leave the door open in an air conditioned room or open windows for "fresh air", which invites mosquitos and flies. Lots of mosquitos here, so it also pays to keep your windows and doors shut tight. Lastly, concerning alcohol. I drink to intoxication about once a week, and many folks here enjoy the night out, especially you younger people and that's great. But to be warned that the heat makes people what I call "squirrely", maybe the feeling of being cooped up in an air conditioned place and then having to deal with the heat (even at night) and the alcohol can add to this. So be careful to check yourself and your surroundings if you want that cold beer or five. People drink too much and people sometimes get into fights, heat and emotions go hand in hand. That is about it. I was born and raised in this shitty hot ass climate so I know. Stay inside, be careful about the drinkin', learn the public transportation, dress for the climate not your status, and realize unless you escape, we are all in the same boat for the next eight weeks or so. Good Luck.