Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Travel: Shanghai in the Summer

Although I spent my third year out of university in Shanghai, I experienced only three seasons in that first visit: autumn, winter and spring. I had given the prospect of a summer in Shanghai limited thought, taking comfort in and relying on my experience of the long dry Spanish summers I have been accustomed to throughout my childhood. 

Shanghai's take on summer was a shock to my unprepared self. The hot air hits you in waves as you walk along the street, the beauty and calm of the tree lined streets providing only the most minimal of respite. Wet hair takes seconds to dry, clothes stick to wet trails on your back and every step is a movement you must consciously coax your body into. It's going to take some adapting. 

On the other hand, Shanghai's ludicrously hot weather has provided a breeding ground for crickets. The cacophony heard at all times round our compound is not in the least bit diminished by our nineteenth floor location. In fact, the sound seems to lift us even higher creating an invisible natural barrier between us above and the world carrying on below. Sometimes if you're particularly attentive to it, you can hear a passer by whistle or a child babbling loudly to its parent despite the crickets’ song. The distance the sounds create between you and the ground below serve only to bring further into focus the image of travelling on a cloud, separated from below by cricket song and the tree canopy around our compound. If you closed your eyes and used a little imagination you might even convince yourself you're in a little farm in the countryside, not in one of the most populous cities on earth. At once comforting and disorientating, it's nevertheless the only season I have felt that nature has any sign of competing with the urban sprawl of Shanghai's skyscrapers. 

Last night, my second night and the end of my first full day, a cricket actually lost its way and flew into the apartment. How the comparatively tiny creature of 10cm in length mustered the strength in its wings to climb to the nineteenth floor is a mystery to me but must also be acknowledged as a testimony to its determination. Having tried peacefully to guide it towards our wide open French doors, it died a somewhat anticlimactic death in the air conditioning vent. Nature is both generous and cruel at times. 

Photos taken on an iPhone 6

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Waiting on Summer: Gingham Culottes

THRIFTED sunglasses, TOPSHOP crop top, ZARA culottes, 
SWATCH watch, H&M necklace, SUPERGA sneaks

I don't know if it's the Andalusian light or my squinty face which screams SUMMER louder in these photos, but my clothes are saying 'care free' as I hope to be in a couple of weeks when I finish full-time work in a restaurant, fly home to Spain and bathe in some (even if I do say so myself) well-deserved rays! 

A (much cooler than me) gal on Twitter said in the deepest, darkest months of winter 'wake me up when it's culotte season' and it resonated with me deeply. That care-free attitude that I mentioned earlier is met with the elated feeling of exposing ankles and not experiencing imminent frostbite. Culotte season, in other words, is synonymous with happy season and summer season which is why, as demonstrated in the images above, they conjure up the hottest of seasons for me. Counting down days until I can reenact this. 

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