We are on the brink of summertime in Gwangju.The trees are green, the skies are hazy with heat, the street cats are shrieking to breed beneath my window. The shorts are getting shorters; the heels, higher.
For most, summer is a time of splashing and beaches, tans and pina coladas. And sometimes my summers are like this too. But guys, I fear the coming season as I fear few other things (ie: death, tight spaces, death inside tight spaces, Kate Hudson movies, etc). You see I was here, if only briefly, LAST summer. And I remember it all too well…
Summertime Horror: The Sweating
Average Temperature June: 80 degrees
Average Temperature July: 83 degrees
Average Temperature August: 87 degrees*
Average Humidity: 2,385,168,465,198,498,115%**
So. Much. Humidity-induced. Sweating.
I am no delicate flower. For three months I wander around looking like I just got out of the shower, but really I’m just basting in my own horrible secretions. And Koreans don’t sweat. This just don’t. They don’t sell deodorant here, that’s how much these people don’t sweat. So to add to the embarrassment of my tenacious sweat glands, there is no one I can stand next to to lessen my evident condition. It’s like I have some kind of fever.
Why the dread? Because last year, when I got off the plane in Seoul, I immediately sweated through my clothing, through as many freezing showers as I could fit into my day, through the night. Over and over until October. Shudder.
Summertime Horror: They Feed!
Mosquitoes. They’re part of the summer package. I can deal with a bug bite now and then. But American mosquitoes, Chicago ones at least, cannot bite through the skin on your heels or palms. That is special elephant-quality skin that’s supposed to protect you from that kind of biological assault. Have you ever had a bug bite on the sole of your foot then tried to walk around all day? No, because you don’t live here in the summertime.
Summertime Horror: The Rain Cometh
Because I don’t care about the metric system or finding a conversion into quantities I understand (United States Customary Units, represent!) or being terribly scientifically accurate, just take my word that it rains a lot here in the summer. A lot. Enough that last summer I sacrificed two pairs of shoes to the angry rain gods. Like I was out in the monsoon and my shoes actually fell apart on my feet because of all the stupid rain. I have only so many shoes, Korea. Also, rain makes more humidity makes more mosquitoes makes me miserable.
*These numbers aren’t at all what I remember. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw a “1” in front of all of them. Grr.
**Figures maybe exaggerated for dramatic effect.