IT IS February 1, 2019 as I write this. We have just hurdled a January that was getting colder and colder. We are facing a February that will get colder still. And we remember other Januarys and Februarys.
This week, we connect to the same time of year from five years ago, and my column piece then titled “The Big Chill.”
“Eight degrees. Nine degrees. These single digit temperatures and the promise that they will sink even lower are attracting maaaaaaany a tourist up to these mountains.
“My sister Heli earlier this week texts me that all the hotels in town are booked this weekend. Clueless, I reply, hnh? What do you mean, why would they be all booked? Her answer: All the TGBBs want to feel eight degrees. At which I crack up. Seriously?
“Then I start looking around. Yes indeed, there IS a crowd in town. I’m even now wondering, so will they actually head to Buguias for the sight of frost on the cabbages? But then again, I myself have Baguio cousins heading to Sagada next weekend for six degrees. Oyes. The cold, it has its singular attraction.
“Right now, Baguio is colder than Stanbhoul (13 degrees) and Tokyo (11 degrees), way colder than Sanfo (21 degrees) and Jakarta (23 degrees), warmer than Berlin (- 3 degrees, brrrr) and New York (- 2 degrees), warmer too than Seattle (6 degrees) and Vancouver (2 degrees), and just about as cold as Geneve, London, Seoul, Teotihuacan.
“To be in Baguio these days means having a tendency to oversleep. It’s even more of a chore to have to get up simply because to do so means losing the warmth of the bed and attendant props (yeah, human too). To be in Baguio these days also means triple, nay quadruple, clothing layering. Thermal underwear, thank you.
“To be in Baguio these days is to raise your head to the sun while the cold wind blows on your face even while you shiver, deliciously. Then to breathe in, deeply, of not just the chilly air, but also of this feeling that this season of the big chill, there is just no other place in the whole wide world to be. Not Istanbul, Geneve, London, Teotihuacan.
As this piece goes to bed, we are informed that there is a parade downtown. The nephew who brings me the news says that he will thus head out of our chilly valley in Camp Seven later, in the afternoon, when the crowd thins.
Me, too. When the crowd thins.