Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Frozen delight

Technically, I haven't experienced snow yet, to which what the picture above might mislead you. The snowflakes on the trees are leftover snow from the previous days. Our Global Environmental Change class braved an excursion to the Schauinsland today. As our bus hiked up the mountain, the temperature gradually dropped from eight degrees Celsius downtown to 0 degree Celsius as we neared the peak. I saw the first trace of snow alongside one bend of the road when were about 1000 meters above sea level. From the moving bus, the snow were white dirt-like sediments in contrast to the gray pavement. The spruces and grass told another story though with their frosted white leaves and stalks.

The closest I got to snowfall, or icefall more appropriately, were those blown away from the trees as a professor lectured on global warming analysis derived from a dendrometer, while standing in what could have been -1 degrees Celsius.

A couple of weeks ago, my classmate asked me where I would live, given only the choice between a cold or hot country. My answer was a safe "it depends." It depends on the humidity, availability of technological interventions (air-conditioning units/heater). Now that I got a taste of what cold is, I now wonder how people live and survive harsh winters of double-digit negative temperatures. Also, I wonder how would they fare in tropical and humid countries. The hottest I've experienced perhaps was 37 C, and I just came to a conclusion that it's inhumane to live in extreme temperatures.

As a tropical citizen who now found himself way above the equator, seeing, feeling, and I think even tasting snow (bottomless halo-halo!) has been one of my fervent dreams. I've envisioned experiencing snow for the first time would be something akin to being thrown into a fantasy, white-motiffed world, where what once I only saw on pictures and other media is now freezing me to reality. One classmate related how one of her friends who was in the same position as I was got disappointed to see how small the snowflakes were. In my case, before throwing snowballs and building a snowman, I think I'd lose it. I can't imagine what will happen once I get the chance to slide the slopes of the Black Forest on a snowboard, or better yet, spend the Christmas break on a ski holiday.

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