Life in a sauna with 24 hour green thunder

Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
Trip End Jun 03, 2009

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, May 25, 2007

The coming of summer is a pleasant time.  Hot sun on your back, longer days and twilight dinners....the pleasant relief of forthcoming holidays.  Well, this year some of those things are still on the agenda, but we have our own Guangdong variation courtesy of the eccentricities of the local climate.  Now, I'm not na´ve about the realities of a life in sub-tropical - albeit only just - climes, but the last couple of weeks have been quite a shock, not least for the speed of the change.
If I can get to the office before 6.30am, the walk to work is comfortable.  Later than that and the sauna has already been turned on and I am drenched by the humidity and streams of sweat which gush from every pore of my body like a million fire hoses.  My colleagues think I'm a bit mad, but leaving my work clothes and a towel in the office are almost essential and I start my working day with 5 minutes standing in front of the welcoming cool of the air conditioner.
This slightly unusual start to the day is nothing compared to what the weather has produced for the last 3 days.  By 9am, it has been dark every day.  Not the soft, enveloping dark of night time, but a virulent half-glowing green darkness. You could be forgiven for thinking the sky is quite literally falling in.  The green-ness is the calm before the spectacular storm which will follow soon afterwards.  Every day, an early morning storm has rocked the school. It had never crossed my mind before, but it's incredibly hard to teach over a thunderstorm whose power ripples through the building.  The white board was shaking as I tried to write on it!
Reflecting on this later, I realise that I enjoy the crazy weather, but it reminds me of how far I am from the familiarity of calling this place home.  It's not that I can't, or wouldn't, but simply that I don't know what's going on around me.  Language and people I actually understand how to handle, but not knowing what the weather will bring is a whole other dynamic.  Here, there are no fresh spring mornings, or biting autumn dawns to burn your nostrils, there is no such thing as fine drizzle that you can't feel, yet which will soak you in 15 minutes, and there is no obvious swing of the wind to the north east to herald the coming of stinging cheeks and watering eyes.
This, this is a land of green thunderstorms which come at 9 in the morning this week, but which I know only too well will come at any time of day.  There is no surety that a hot, sticky summer's day will build to an early evening storm which comes as surely as twilight does follows daylight.  Still, after almost two years here, the weather reminds me that it, and so much else is still alien.
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