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Same Same But Different

Four Seasons Good, Two Seasons Bad

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 3 June 2009 | Views [624]

On November 19th 2008, I boarded a plane from Heathrow destined for Ho Chi Minh City. At the time I was wearing a jacket and scarf which, have not been worn since. Living in a tropical climate while my friends and family moaned and groaned about the harsh British winter was brilliant but now that winter has passed and spring has become summer I have little left to be smug about. Southern Vietnam experiences very little seasonal temperature change. It has a tropical, hot and humid, climate, and has only two real seasons - the monsoon season and the dry season. When I arrive in November the dry season was just beginning and until April I experienced pretty much eternal sunshine. Incredibly, during this time I managed to avoid getting any kind of visible tan! While the Vietnamese spend a lot of their time protecting themselves form the sun and avoiding a tan, I have tried to maximize my exposure with little to no effect. Come April the monsoon season started and brought with it lots of rain, heat and regular floods. May bought even more rain and floods: busy streets started transforming into rivers within an hour and then be back to a street thirty minutes later. Its now June and the rain is becoming more regular and poring down in greater quantities, this has left me wondering whether a tropical climate is all that’s it’s cracked up to be! Aside from the flash floods, intense humid heat and plague of mosquito’s that accompany this, the thing that I have found most disappointing about living in a tropical climate is the absence of that special “summer feeling”. The weather is one of the few things that is universal (hence why people make so much small talk about it) so having endured a tough British winter there is regularly a universal feeling of euphoria when the first rays of sunshine slowly break through the epidermis of cloud cover as if by osmosis. People instantly grab shorts, barbeques and frisbees and migrate towards the nearest grass to wallow in the glorious British summer. White this jubilation spreads though the UK the only thing spreading itself through Vietnam is dirty flood water and dengue fever carried by the mosquito’s that live in it. Therefore, I have come to the Orwellian conclusion of four seasons good, two seasons bad. That is, at least until its dry seasons again…

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