Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sizzling Seoul

It's hot.

And by hot, I mean I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West melting in my own sweat. But I can't tell if it's sweat or condensation from the humidity that saturates the air. There are large drops of sweat rolling down my back in a slippery, obnoxious march and it makes it difficult to buy clothes because everything has to hide the little saltwater soldiers. Tears run from my eyes because sweat gets in them. My eyelashes are like the eaves of the Korean houses I walk by on my way to work with a micro monsoon sending sweat down to my cheeks. Makeup, needless to say, is a useless venture, although I don't own anything but foundation, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss that doubles as chap stick.

When it's not hot, it's raining.

And by raining, I mean the clouds are bratty, spoiled children who have just been denied their favorite toys or candies. Their tears run down the rooftops and make rivers in the streets, starting with the gutters and growing steadily to angry streams that refuse to retreat into the sewer systems. Last year I sacrificed a pair of shoes to a downtown sidewalk that had become a knee-high river, stinking of city. Businessmen waded with their pants rolled up and their briefcases and shoes over their heads. I didn't want to step on things I couldn't see through the toxic brown water. The smell never went away so I threw away the shoes. In the office, you could tell who took that way to work because we itched and scratched at our feet for days. What surprises will the monsoons bring us this year?

For now, I'm wearing long, light sleeves and sleeveless shirts on alternate days to avoid the heat while not getting sunburned. It's not working. I'm getting sunburned and I'm still hot. Soooo hot. When will it end?

When I was living in Andong, we didn't have air conditioning and there was no cross breeze. Andong is infamous for being one of the hottest cities in Korea. One day, I took a cold shower, drank ice water, and sat motionless in front of an electric fan. I started to cry. Someone asked me why, and I replied through tears, "Even when I take a cold shower and drink ice water and sit in front of a fan, it's still hot!!"

I guess Michigan people just aren't cut out for Korean summer. Or just me.

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