Clouds skim over Central on a misty February day.
The weather in Hong Kong can be predicted very accurately. Usually. Coming from a country where the weather famously changes 6 times an hour, the ability to look at a weather forecast and know you can rely on what it says will happen actually happening was quite novel. It took me a well over a year to conquer the ‘Oh Jesus look at the gorgeous weather let’s get outside this instant‘ feeling that Brits get upon opening their curtains to a sunny day, brought about by the fear that it will be the only hour of sunshine they see all summer. In Hong Kong, sunny days tend to last, and last. Although Brits are misguided in their belief that they are the only country in the world where the weather is a hot conversational topic. Here people discuss the weather every day: ‘It’s hot, isn’t it?‘ one person might say. ‘Yes‘ the other person will almost always reply.
The Hong Kong annual weather-calendar usually goes: Cool and fresh – less cool and less fresh – a bit rainy – a bit hot – pretty hot – humid – very rainy – very hot – even rainier – outrageously hot and sweaty – TYPHOON! – back to outrageously hot and sweaty – slightly less hot – slightly less rainy – just nice – no rain for a while – cool and fresh. Repeat.
But in just the few weeks or so we’ve had both the wettest January in well over a hundred years and the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Hong Kong. We’ve had ice! On Tai Mo Shan, the region’s highest peak, temperatures hit -6 degrees Celsius. There were rumours of snow in the New Territories. I wore three layers to bed. We’ve had some incredibly foggy days, where skyscrapers have disappeared into the clouds from the tenth floor upwards, and yet some of the clearest days I’ve ever known since coming here. On a recent hike I saw Shenzhen (China) on the one side and the Wanshan Islands (also China) on the other. All Hong Kong spread out around us.
And, yet, despite this temporarily changeable climate, this ice and rain and fog, some things have remained constant. I still managed to get sunburned. Twice.