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You know that we are in the height of summer when no amount of cranking up the air conditioner can beat the heat. On Good Friday, I found myself turning on both air-con and electric fan and turning them both in my direction. I also pulled down the blinds to keep my room dark and cool, but it was no help. Even with the cool air, my skin was burning from the heat. It was indeed Good Friday weather.

Through the years, I’ve learned to look up weather reports to have an idea what to pack on trips. I had a couple of missteps many years ago that served to remind me to always check on how hot or cold a place is.

I remember a trip to Hong Kong where we found ourselves at the mercy of chilly air. I was with a group of writers and we were attending the launch of a new cell phone unit. The invitation we were given said come in our cocktail best.

We knew we were all unprepared for the weather when we stepped out the airport. Manila was raging with a fever; Hong Kong was chilly like a fridge. It was March: winter to spring.

The girls didn’t think about it, until later that night when we gathered at the lobby for the launch. Rather than usher us to a ballroom, our guide showed us out of the hotel into a waiting bus.

Cocktail best meant they were donned in little black dresses, bare shouldered and slim legs for all to admire.

“Where are we going?” we asked our guide.

We were handed a printed invitation that said we were going out to an events place beside Victoria Harbor. It was actually a heated tent by the water’s edge.

Think Luneta in January just before dawn. Of course, there was no Quirino Grandstand to shield us from the blast of cold air.
Oh no, they all chorused.

As they ran into the heated bus, I was wondering whether I would stand up to the cold, too. I had on a short-sleeved shirt, not a long-sleeved one. And no jacket, too.

When the bus stopped, there was a 200-meter walk from our ride to the entrance of the events place.

Can we come any closer, the girls asked.

The bus was already by the curb, and there were planks where we would cross from the vehicle to the tent.

Eventually, they agreed we would have to make a run for it.

And that’s what we all did.

The tent was nice and cozy and comfortably heated. We had forgotten about the burst of cold air outside.

By the time we were about to return to the hotel, we’ve already had a couple of drinks. We were actually looking for the blast of air to cool us down from the heat inside.

Since that trip, I’ve made a habit of reading up on the weather in the place I was going to. I have no problem with Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, because the weather in these places is so much like ours. I do pack an umbrella because, depending on the time of the year, there could be thunderstorms to lay to waste my plans of going out shopping anytime I can.

However, it took a trip to London to totally mess up my plans. It was October, and it was the middle of autumn.

I was well prepared for this trip. I had a thick faux leather jacket and heavy pants. No gloves, though, but I knew I could just stick my hands into my pockets.

However, I wasn’t prepared for heaters. It may be cold outside, and my jacket did me well, but all those stores lining up Regent Street, Charing Cross Road, Piccadilly Circus and Princes Street were warm like freshly popped toast.

It was an ordeal to have to take off my jacket while inside, and putting it back on as I was going out again.

Eventually, I decided to just grin and bear it. I kept my jacket on even if I was sweating profusely underneath it. When I got back to the hotel, and later on at my aunt’s place in Battersea, I would hang the jacket inside out by a heater so it would dry out for next day’s use. Never mind if it got stinky. My aunt would later explain to me that the British would keep their jackets unwashed for a season and then sell it at a charity shop. And I tell you, those places aren’t the most fragrant I’ve been to.

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