Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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This post is just another in a long line of bitching-and-moaning posts about the summer heat and humidity. Korea's in East Asia, not Southeast Asia, but the heat and humidity are nevertheless oppressive during the four-month-long summer. Walking outside, even at night, is no longer a pleasure; whether I'm out doing a creekside walk or inside my building doing a staircase trudge, it all feels like work, and I have no motivation.

I've truncated my creekside walks: taking my own advice, I now stop after staircase #14, then just walk on back. This has the dual benefit of both cutting my walking time almost in half and preserving my feet from the aches and pains of a routine five-plus-hour, thirty-plus-thousand-step walk. These days, my walks are under 20K steps, but I still sweat as if I were doing the full megawalk. I guess the summer heat is good for something.

I have, however, had the wild thought of doing the creekside staircases on the way back—something I've never done. That would bring me up to twenty-eight staircases: fourteen out and fourteen back. The total number of stair steps in such a walk would be more than the number of steps I do when walking three times up my apartment building: around 1800 steps as opposed to around 1600. I'd also be guaranteed to sweat out even more water weight. To be honest, I'm not keen on pushing myself to do such a walk, but I might try it, anyway, out of morbid curiosity. My only worry is that the creekside staircases aren't as safe as the staircase in my building: the wooden steps are often creaky and/or tilted and/or warped, and the railings are often shrouded by drooping tree branches, which means I often walk down the center of each staircase. If I get dizzy from doing twenty-eight staircases, I'll have nothing to hold on to, which could be a problem. Again, we'll see. I might give the 28-staircase thing a try tonight. Or not. I may need to psych myself up for this.

Fuck, it's hot. I hate Korean summer.

*This would be twenty-eight full-size staircases—another daunting prospect. On my megawalks, I normally do thirty-three staircases, but after #14, the staircases shrink down to a half or a third of the size of the first fourteen.


John Mac said...

I've been here 11 summers and this is the hottest one I remember. Not much rain either. It definitely makes walking much less pleasant.

Good luck. Don't overdo it.

Kevin Kim said...


Thanks. I'll be chillin'.

Eleven summers? I somehow thought you'd been here longer. I've been here eleven years myself—although not eleven years in a row. Life is strangely nonlinear.

Charles said...

I've been here almost twice as many summers as John, and this is the hottest summer I can remember, too. Not necessarily in terms of absolute temperature (it's gotten hotter), but for how freaking long the heat has gone on. It's almost a rule of thumb that you can count on things starting to cool down after the 15th of August--it'll still get hot during the day, but mornings and evenings are cooler.

Although it kind of feels like it might be cooling down a little at night. Not sure. It's possible that it is just wishful thinking. All I know is that I am ready for this to be over. Come on, autumn! You can do it!

Kevin Kim said...

"It's almost a rule of thumb that you can count on things starting to cool down after the 15th of August--it'll still get hot during the day, but mornings and evenings are cooler."

I can see that, although my own perception of a significant cool-down doesn't really begin until mid-October: I think of September as, mostly, Korea's fourth summer month. It's not until October that I notice actual coolness, and when it happens, it's almost like a switch flipping. That said, I'd agree that things get less hot as August moves into its latter half. I'll take whatever relief I can get.

Charles said...

Well, I guess it depends on how you define a "cool down." It generally remains hot during the day through September, although you also tend to get cooler days every now and then. I'm mostly thinking of whether it cools down at night, and that usually starts happening right around Fully Autonomous Independence and Liberation Day. Again, this is all relative and of course quite subjective.