Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My New Maozi

For me, our Chengde getaway was to serve as a test run for our forthcoming trip to Harbin. Given the sub-freezing winter temperatures of China's dongbei ("eastnorth" as they say in China) region, hearing that Chengde would be around negative 15 degrees Celsius (Harbin may get to negative 30), we figured we could work out any weak links in our armor.

At negative 15, it becomes apparent that what they say about heat loss from the head is totally true. As a person who likes hats, but never wears hats (mostly because my big New Jersey hair keeps them from fitting), I decided it was time to hunt one down.

To the Chengde indoor market we went. Hat after hat, I tried to find the one that didn't make me look like a chef...or a cat burglar...or, well, a flat head. Finally, the last one I tried was the one. After bargaining down from 65 to 25 kuai (thanks Z!), I put it on and headed back into the cold, now equipped with two coats, a scarf, long johns, two pairs of gloves, and feeling kind of like the Stay-Puff marshmallow mom and ready to brave whatever Chengde had to offer. And did it ever! At negative 22 degrees Celsius this morning (wasn't expecting that!), my head was toasty warm. Now, about our faces...



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