Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WTF was I thinking?

So I'm doing my month long China odyssey in February. I know it's going to be cold. My first experience in China, I traveled for the month of February in 1980. And yeah, it was cold. Very cold. And lots of places didn't have heat. I was young and foolish. But i had Mongolian padded boots. I would have never gotten through a Beijing winter without them - and I'm not even going to talk about freakin' Shanxi. Oh my god, it was cold. Look, I'm from Southern California. We don't do that, water left outside turns cold, hard and shiny thing here. What I remember most vividly about Shanxi was wandering through the medieval streets of Xi'an, freezing my ass and everything else off, finding a street vendor who sold sweet potatoes from an oil can. My friend and I didn't even want to eat the sweet potatoes. We just wanted to hold them. Because they were hot, and we were so flippin' cold.

This time, I'm trying to plan the whole thing in advance, because I'm figuring my usual travel planning method (stay up super late the night before I go and throw a bunch of crap in a bag) isn't a good strategy for a month-long trip involving a lot of train travel, cold and roughing it. And did I mention cold?

See, I'm planning on visiting a good friend of mine in Yili, Xinjiang. I've always wanted to go to Xinjiang. The Silk Road, and all that. I'm going to go to Kunming (a sort of pilgrimage to my past - I turned 21 there) and then I figured I'd take a train up to visit my friend, maybe stop in Kaifeng and places like that, just...because.

Okay, I just checked the average February temperature in Urumqi (closest marker to Yili). maybe gets up to 17 degrees. 17?! That's the name of a magazine, not a temperature!

So, I just ordered a pair of Sorel boots. Because my feet have gotten bigger, and I can't wear my lovely Mongolian padded boots any more. Dammit.

There's a whole story behind the Mongolian padded boots, but I'm too tired to post it now. And if anyone has any suggestions re: cold weather gear, please do let me know!


Bryn Greenwood said...

Is it gonna be a wet cold or a dry cold? I survived northern Japan in the depths of winter courtesy of a Land's End down lined, waterproof anorak--the down lining was detachable--best thing ever.

other lisa said...

I dunno. I stopped at the "frickin' COLD" part.

Probably both.

Lisa R-R said...

Merino wool long underwear (legs) and nylon sock liners (thin socks) are recommended.
Also mittens are better than gloves.
Works in Toronto cold!