Upon my return to Longzhou yesterday after my May holiday cool-off in Nanning (air-conditioned comfort in the hotel room and amazing pool swims), it was walking into a steaming sauna in my apartment. The temperature inside had hit 93 degrees. Stifling! And without air-conditioning, it was only going to get worse.
I turned my portable floor fan on high and let it whisk the hot air around the room as I waited for students to arrive that evening.
My second year English Education majors (I have 90 of them) are teaching junior high English lessons to their classmates for their final test. This is so I can evaluate all they’ve learned in our methodology classes.
Before each group teaches, I go over their lesson plans and we discuss this for an hour in my home to make sure I am satisfied with their readiness. This particular group was meeting me for the second time because they hadn’t prepared properly the first time. I was hoping it would be a quick gathering but they straggled in 30 minutes late, making us start up at 7:30 p.m. and not finishing until 9 p.m. as they still were struggling to put together a decent lesson.
Must have been those 3 days off for May Day that made them so lax.
I’ve Been Invaded!
Anyway, with those wicked temperatures inside, one of the students left my hallway door open thinking I wanted a breeze coming through. If I’d known it was open, I’d have closed it. The mosquitoes here are horrendous. Any light seen at night drives them crazily speeding toward it. They especially enjoy congregating in the stairwell, landing on people’s doors to await surprise entry once a resident comes and goes, accidentally inviting them in for a longed-for human banquet.
By the time my roasting students left, dripping in sweat, not only did I have the heat to deal with but the buzzing, zipping and biting of the mosquitoes.
Managing the Feisty Hoards
It was nearing midnight when I decided to call it quits on the sitting room and head for bed. I do have an air-conditioner mounted on the bedroom wall but it is so old that it just blows lukewarm air about without cooling anything down. The fan was my best defense in managing the feisty hoards that followed me to my sleeping quarters. I dialed it to the highest speed setting. It acted as a constant hurricane, batting those pesky mosquitoes around and around and around the room in a swirling frenzy. The fan’s whirlwind cooled me down and kept the insects at bay long enough for me to get to sleep . . . until 3 a.m.
The electricity went off. Oh, great.
For an hour, the mosquitoes enjoyed their late-night snack (me) until I’d finally had enough. Groping around in the dark, I found my flashlight and dug through my emergency supply drawer. I knew I had some mosquito repellant in there from 3 years ago. Surely it was still around.
Naturally, as soon as I found my repellant spray and covered myself in the sticky, smelly stuff, the electricity came on. The mosquitoes went back to riding out the hurricane and I went back to bed.
It Ain’t Gonna Get Any Better
This type of weather and oppressive heat I have to look forward to now until the end of June, when I can finally call it quits for southern China. Packing up everything is not going to be pleasant under such conditions so I try not to think about it, especially as we aren’t even into the deadly hot yet. This is only the beginning of May. Think of full-out summer!
Today, after a sleepless night, I asked the school to see about exchanging my ancient air-conditioner for another. Mr. Luo, the foreign affairs director and vice-president of our campus, is a very capable man. He is seeing to it for next week.
In the meantime, I will either be suffering it out here, dreaming of my past few days in a gloriously cool Nanning hotel room and pool, or break down for a weekend visit back just so I can once again have some rest in quiet comfort until Mr. Luo comes to my rescue.
Hmmm. Which to choose? Here or there? What do you think?
From steamy Longzhou, here’s wishing you Ping An (peace) for a cool weekend.
P.S. I’d write more about my May holiday except my computer is so overheated, it’s burning up on me. I’ll save it for another day.