Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fog and Metrics

Click the pix for larger picture.

Let’s talk about the weather. It’s winter, and winter here is unique to anything I’ve ever experienced. We live on the same latitude as Havana, but we do not enjoy the same weather, since we are not surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Even though we are a coastal city, immediately to the Northwest there are mountains that eventually become the Himalayas. I’m no meteorologist, but I am observant enough to see that winters here are not warm and sunny.

The climate here is categorized as subtropical. In this case, the prefix, “sub”, seems to indicate something along the lines of substandard or subhuman-- in other words, not quite up to snuff. Instead of warm sunny days, we get a lot of grey days, with temperatures in the 50’s to low 60’s. Sometimes it gets downright chilly, with temperatures in the mid 40’s, and I have seen a couple of nights where it dropped to 39. In later winter, as it warms, we get very thick fog, with temperatures in the 60’s. That’s when it gets very weird.

The buildings here are all made of concrete. They are uninsulated, and lack central heating. When the weather cools, the buildings cool. Trying to heat our apartment with a space heater like trying to warm a cave. It only heats an area about 6 feet in diameter, and runs up a hefty electric bill doing it. You basically bundle up and wait for spring.

It might be spring now here in the subtropics, and we have some warm, and very damp fog at night and in the mornings. The cold, concrete walls and tile floors inside the buildings take on the same characteristics as an iced tea glass on a summer day in Atlanta. You get a lot of condensation everywhere. You mop and wipe. Fabric is damp and black mold appears on all of your favorite clothing.

Last year, I bought a dehumidifier, which was not cheap, but well worth the cost. Our electronics will last longer, the guitar is happier, and my light colored clothing does not have black dots. It also is healthier, and generally more pleasant.

We have been getting some warm days and sun lately, which brings spirits up, and lets us know that the short, damp winter is coming to an end.

The people who read this are mostly from the US. They use the Olde British system of weights and measures, having opted out of the worldwide conversion to metric that happened in the 70’s. It’s now a uniquely American system since even the Brits realized what an archaic and asinine way it is to measure things. I’ve managed quite well to adjust, and at present it is sunny and 25 degrees Celsius outside. I know what that feels like, and it’s warm. When it’s 30 it’s getting hot. 40 is too hot for a humid climate. I’m 180 centimeters tall and weigh 85 kilos.

When I write about the weather, I consider my audience and convert things to quaint system of measurement.

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