Saturday, September 01, 2007

One Night without Air Conditioning

The last five days have whirled by as I’ve had no English lessons to give (HuYi has been sick and said the Engineers are too busy this week for lessons) so I’ve had five whole days to paint and write and read. I’ve been working on my anniversary surprise for Eric which has been a bit labor intensive, but good painting practice. All of his favorite paintings of mine are watercolors so I used that medium and its been fun messing around with them again. I like to use water really saturated with pigment so it dries like thick ink. I think he’s gonna love it.

We booked a few days at a B&B in Duluth when we get back to MN to celebrate and enjoy the fall leaves and a Jacuzzi. Its not that we are B&B fanatics, its just that they offer some personality, charm and value compared to a Holiday Inn where the price is often the same. I’ll take a four poster bed, a fireplace and hot cinnamon rolls in the morning over HBO, bad in-room coffee in a Styrofoam cup and stale donuts any day of the week.

On Tuesday our power was unexpectedly shut off. One of the downsides to having someone else in charge of paying your bills is that you don’t really know what to do when something like this happens. And of course, not being able to speak Chinese, we had little recourse. Eric and I slept in the sweltering heat with the windows open and wet towels slung across our bellies. Yes, it is that hot here. I awoke to a cacophony of mosquito bites all over my legs and back, but mercifully, power was restored the next day.

It gave me new understanding of all the folks in this city who live without any air conditioning at all. If HuYi is any indicator of the Chinese populace in general, it would appear that people here are very sparing with their air conditioning use. She turns it off every time she leaves the house. When she is at home, she runs it only in the room she is occupying for a few minutes at a time. When Eric and I were sick last week, she kept saying it was because we run the air conditioner too much, that it is bad for your health to go from where it is so hot to where it is so cool. (Not to mention the expense…don’t even get her started on that…)

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