I wake up at 7:00am to the sound of a loud fire alarm. It must be national test-your-fire-alarm-day. I remember those from middle school. I try to go to sleep, but it's no use.
I flop out of bed, head to the kitchen and make some breakfast. After breakfast I go back into my room and I hear a wheezing noise. After a bit of investigation I realize that it's the intake for the air conditioner that's making the racket. I flip the air conditioner on and off - the only repair move I can think of. It doesn't work.
When I get back to work it's 85 degrees in the apartment according to the thermostat. It feels hotter - I'm used to a breezy 73. After a day or two I realize that it's not going to fix itself and I call the repair man. It takes him a few days to fix it.
During the 6 days or so that I had no air conditioner, I gradually adjusted to the heat. By the end I actually enjoyed it. When the repair was finally completed, I didn't bother turning the air conditioner back on.
Let's think about this for a second - why the hell is 72 degrees the standard temperature that we like so much? There are people in Africa with no air conditioning who live in 100 degree heat that don't complain about it. I spend thousands of dollars a year adapting the environment to me. Why not just adjust to the environment and save all that money?
So far it's been a month or so, and I haven't used the air conditioning or heater at all (twice someone else used it...) and everything's been fine. It's going to start getting colder, so we'll see how long I last!
Technology comes at a price. A few shamanistic Native American cultures believed that the price of technology was to high to pay. If a warrior had a heater that means he did'nt have to adjust to the cold. He was weakened. Him being cold would force him to become smarter, to adapt better, to be more resourceful. He may start exercising and thus becoming stronger, he may learn how to start a fire with natural flint and sticks, he may kill a wild deer and cook the meat to warm his bones or climb into the chest cavity for warmth.
I used to do the same thing at my house back in LA but now that Im living with other people for college the temp is always set and I feel weak :(
For a long time I have had a theory about temperature and productivity of a given civilization. It is definitely true that people living in 100 degree African heat are fully accustomed to it and probably donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spend their days dreaming of a 15000 BTU air conditioner. However I suspect that this prevalent heat may be a considerable reason why many regions lying within 30 degrees of the equator are considered to be 2nd or 3rd world. In addition to Africa take a look at the Far East, Central America, South America, and the Middle East which lie almost entirely within this sector. These regions lag the world in almost every measure of life expectancy and economic indicators. It was not until the wide spread advent of air conditioning that countries like Saudi Arabia and India began to share in the success previously enjoyed by cooler areas of the world.
wow hu. CLEVER. you SHOW them! once you stop wearing a coat and taking ice cold showers THE WORLD WILL FOLLOW!
i suggest world domination as a follow up.
in a real comment on the blog, i rarely use A/C and if i lived somewhere with dry heat, the chances of me ever using it would slim to none.
Yeah Hu, you go ahead and enjoy your freeing cold shower first thing in the morning. You show the world how unique you can be! I just feel sorry for your sensitive man-parts.
Same thing goes for showers. Who declared that showers should be performed with hot water? On a side note.. what the hell is this crap about catching cold from not wearing a coat outside in the winter. Last time I checked, colds and other illnesses come from germs, not a certain air temperature.
Perhaps we should start a movement to change some of the widely accepted practices in society, that seem to be followed simply because "that's just what you do". I volunteer to be the Secretary of Defense of our new world.
Wow. Is this three posts in three days? It's like the good old days. Remember those? So, today I wake up and go through my normal routine. Read e-mails, listen to voicemails, eat some breakfast, say hi to my beautiful fishies, etc. Time for the shower.
I turn the water to hot and weigh myself while I wait for it to heat up. 139. Damn. That's really skinny. I eat a lot of salmon. Shouldn't I weigh more? I check the water - it's still cold. I brush my teeth while I wait.
The itch to explore is superseded only by the itch that accompanies me on my flight back to Rio. I am wearing bug bites like war scars...having survived my sojourn into the wild Amazonas.
An early morning flight landed me in Manaus midday good Friday, and it was a boat+pickup truck+boat ride past the meeting of brown and blue river waters, and over the high(water)ways to the place where the mouths of rio Mamori and rio Juma meet and where the Lake Juma lodge resides. i'm the one-who-came-late and the tour boat swings by to pick me up before we head out for a spot of piranha fishing on the lake. No skills needed, just stick a piece of frango (chicken) on the hook, dip the wooden rod down low and wait for the nibbles. The trick is to be swift once you feel the bite. My level of patience is not quite suited to the waiting sport of fishing, so either it was luck or impatient me whipping up the line each time i felt the tug of a bite (so that I would not lose my bait too often to pirate piranha), i was rewarded with two piranha catches! These were not the most vicious breed (out of the 25 species) that would chomp one's fingers off, but hey, a piranha is still a piranha! And every living creature deserves a second chance, so back they went into lake, to bite another tourist bait another day.
After a sunset tour of the large lake, we head back out for cayman spotting after dusk. The boat skimmed the shoreline as the guides flashed their torches into the vegetation. It's always the eyes that show. (Flashback: I recall the Masaai guard swinging his torch around the bush at the serengeti camp and knowing which animals were out there just by their eyes shining in the dark). So whilst our untrained eyes looked blindly into the dark forests, the guides jumped out and waded into wet grass to catch the caymans. Just over a foot long, these reptiles have a flat lone & powerful tail, webbed hindfeet for swimming, 4-fingered forefeet for climbing and 72 sharp teeth for chomping... complete with eye lenses and ears. However, it seemed that evolution deemed a tongue as unnecessary but the cayman is certainly no dumb creature, be careful to keep its mouth shut as bites are potentially nasty bacteria-laden infections.
Since we had put the sun (pôr do sol) to sleep that first evening, we naturally had to wake up at dawn to watch it rise over the rainforest. That was the intention anyway but the cloudy sky merely made it a serene morning boatride as the dawn gave way to daylight. The mornings somehow always carries a certain magic with the freshness of a newborn day. The surface of the lake wobbles like a dark green jello as our boat floats gently by in the still cool morning air. It's a game drive on water as we cruise the shores on the lookout for forest creatures.
Day 2 is explore-the-forest day. We gear up and head out after breakfast, ready to meet & greet the residents of the rainforest. Forest survival 101: 1. Keep to the muddy trail and follow the guide's footsteps, 2. Do not touch underside of leaves (the residents there don't like to be disturbed), and 3. Beware of walking into branches and spider webs. .. i think. So the bunch of us city folks keep in step behind our guide whilst his native eyes picked out armadillo and tarantula burrows, giant ant colonies, grasshoppers and tiny tiny frogs that pack a poisonous punch. The dense forest is a treasure trove of nature's own medicine from antiseptics to mosquito repellant (involves mashed ants) and superfruit such as trendy açai. If you are into a hi-protein diet, try snacking on firefly larva. Then there were the trees the natives used for weapons or communication or shelters... and the ones that smelt of menthol vapour rub or essence of rose, not forgetting the fascinating walking tree and the 600 year old Brazil nut tree. Three hours later, seven pairs of wet muddy shoes returned to the lodge...except for our guide who was wisely and cheerfully dry in his rubber boots. By mid afternoon we were ready for our second foray into the forest...this time for a sleepover under the stars.