1 pm. I finish teaching my level 1 English class here in my air-conditioned institute. I take the elevator down to the first floor, walk through the lobby to the glass doors and open them. The torrent of heat hits me instantly, riping off my flesh and searing my clothes to my burning body.
It's July in Seoul. 29 degrees Celsius with intense humidity. It feels almost as hot as last summer in Seville, Spain, where it was 40 C and Greg and I had to walk 20 mins to our hostel with full heavy backpacks on. I almost died then, and according to most of my Korean friends, I might also die this summer.
Not wanting to die, I have compiled a list of Things Koreans Do To Stay Cool in the Seoul Summer:
- Buy an air-conditioner. Yeah, Steve and I were thinking of buying one, but not only are they not good for the environment, they are expensive. The used shop sells a small air-conditioner for 300,000 won - er... $300. Not quite worth it for one air-conditioner for only two months of HEAT. We'd also fight over who's room gets the cold air!
- Buy a fan. Aha! That we did! Yesterday, we each bought an electric oscillating stand-up fan (mine was $35). I cannot convey the bliss I am experiencing siting in front of the fan and feeling the blown air cool the sweat of my face...
- Buy a hand fan. I could and I might, but I haven't yet. I used to have a small battery fan I used while traveling Europe many years ago... hmmm, I miss that fan.
- Eat ice cream. On almost every corner here in my area of Seoul - Sinchon, there are corner stores (7-11, By The Way, Mini-Mart, and countless other family-run ones). Each one sells a wide variety of delicious ice cream, which I have been gluttonously indulging in.
- Go to the beach. The nearest beach in one hour away on the outskirts of Seoul near the airport - Inchon. I have yet to go there. My favorite beach is 4 hours away in Busan, on the south coast of Korea. Beautiful. I'll probably go back there in August.
- Go to a mud festival. Specifically, the Boryeong Mud Festival happening this weekend! I am planing on checking it out this weekend, so I'll let you know how it goes. The cooling high-quality mud with refresh this cooked human....
- Live at work. YBM, my school, is completely air-conditioned and cold. If I brought in blankets, I could theoretically live there indefinitely! Think about it - no commuting to work!
Oh, one more point I forgot: Live at the movie theater - and watch The Dark Knight, opening next week! Definitely my most anticipated movie this summer. Make sure you catch it! "I am Batman."