Monday, December 29, 2008

The Siberian Express has arrived again!

About once a week, the Siberian Express arrives. No, it's not a special train from Siberia. It's a cold front that nearly knocks us off our feet. At 10:00 a.m. today, the temperature is 28 F but feels like 15 because the wind is 20 mph with gusts up to 31 mph. When it's this cold, you don't want any skin exposed.

In the U.S. we have always joked about it being cold in Siberia. We were right! When this cold front arrives, there is no smog in Beijing. The sky is blue and crystal clear. By the time it warms up a little and we enjoy a few nicer days without wind, it's time for the express to come through again. It's like our Canadian cold fronts except stronger.

In November, when we were flying from the U.S. to China, I watched the little TV monitor showing where we were located. As we crossed over Russia into Siberia, I saw the outside temperature at 30,000 ft. was -175 F degrees and the tailwind gave us a ground speed of 650 mph.

Ron and I cannot imagine how people live in those cold countries of Russia, Siberia and Mongolia.

About 3:00 p.m. we went out to the bank, to purchase Ron's airline ticket for next Tuesday to go to Yibin to sign the contract for the Jackson Family Foundation Christian Care Center, and to the market to get a few supplies. I wore long underwear, two pair of pants, a sweatshirt, jacket and then a long woolen coat, lined boots, hat, scarf and two pairs of gloves. I was comfortable and not cold. Children at the school playground across the street from our apartment were playing ball in light weight jogging suits, acting like it was a spring day. I guess the difference is the age!

When it is so cold outside, we know we must wear layers of clothes to keep warm, but once we get inside a store, market or the subway, it is too hot and some of the layers must come off. It was this way when we lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I have already lost one glove trying to keep up with all the items I take off along the way. I'm glad I brought two pair of gloves!

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