The coldest winter
There has been no other topic on the Chinese news and social media in the past few days: it is cold! The local Suzhou newspaper warned us a week in advance: it was forecast that temperatures here would reach -10ºC. Could this be true?
And, indeed, it was true. Not only in Suzhou, but all over China temperatures dropped and places like Guangzhou saw snow. And this is very unusual.
In China it is said that northerners, even though they have very low temperatures, would not be able to survive a winter in the south. The reason is that the southern half of China does not have heating, as you have probably heard because all foreigners moan about it, and the north obviously does. So while people in the north have to suffer freezing temperatures outside, their homes are warm and cozy. And in the south we are freezing outside and freezing even more inside, because working or sitting in a room with less than 13ºC is extremely uncomfortable. When I was living in Beijing I spent my winters reading in bed in a t-shirt and sometimes I even had to open the window because the heating was too much. Now, as I am typing this, I have the hot air con on, but my feet and hands are frozen (and I am wearing 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, 2 t-shirts, a woollen jumper and a furry sport jacket with the hoodie on).
Last week and yesterday Suzhou was around -6ºC. Some people have reported frozen pipes in my neighbourhood and the plants that I had in the balcony look and feel like if they were made of playdough. Poor aloe! I hope he can revive.
Last week I was in Shenzhen and Hong Kong so I missed the snow in Suzhou. I went to Shenzhen because it was our company’s Chinese New Year gala. It was not as cool as last year because I was not performing (ha!) but it was interesting anyway. I wasn’t lucky this time and didn’t win any prize (there were PS4s, phones, iPhones, Go Pros and can’t remember what else).
The polar cold wave also reached Hong Kong and it was freezing there. It was too cold to do sightseeing and, anyway, I have been there many times, so I spent those two days hanging with my friend and shopping. Going to Hong Kong once a year is becoming a habit!
The polar cold wave is expected to be leaving China starting today and temperatures in Suzhou will reach 10ºC in a couple of days. Until then, we will be in snow doge mode.