Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26th: In a Cloud of Smog

We had three days of glorious summer weather: sunny and hot.  After over two weeks of solid rain, the world seemed so bright and colorful in the sunlight.  However, three days was all we were given for now.  Today I woke up to a thick fog, and now there's a misty drizzle turning the campus back into a gray and colorless ghost town.  The fog is so thick that the buildings are only outlines of dirty gray against the slightly lighter dirty gray of the sky.  The fog is taking the bright umbrellas of the students walking by and making them seem colorless. However, according to the weather report, we should have summer weather again by Friday, and a hot weekend.

As I'm sitting here writing, the fog is getting thicker and thicker.  A building about a hundred feet from my window is just an outline, and the one beyond that is completely obscured.  The people with umbrellas below are ghosts flickering in and out of view.  Even the radio program blaring over the load speakers seems muffled and distorted, the voices from a different world than the one I see in front of me. 

Okay, I'm writing this post little by little in between other things.  A couple of hours have passed now, and the weather outside keeps getting stranger and stranger.  Now the fog is a thick yellowish pea-soup cloud; it smells like dank smoke.  It's not really gray; it's a brown-yellow-gray colorless thing.  It's so thick  now that the building across the street (maybe one hundred feet away) is completely obscured.  There's no hint it's even there.  The boys' dormitory just across the courtyard with the ping pong tables (fifty feet at most) is only a rough outline.  I looked out the front window, and it looks like visibility is only about thirty feet.  I brought my laundry in off of the sun room, where I had the windows open, because I was afraid they'd smell like bitter smoke. 

I have to go out in a couple of hours; it'll be interesting to find my way into the city on this other-worldly day, but I'm not looking forward to breathing out there. 

EDIT: The weather that day was bizarre; even locals said they'd never seen anything quite like it.  It wasn't just the fog; it was also the thick smell of smoke in it.  I  had to rewash all the laundry I had hanging out on the sunroom, because a window was cracked open and everything smelled like a close encounter with a campfire.  However, it started to clear as it got dark.  Later, some of the students said the smoke part of it was from farmers burning off fields; they do it every year, but this year it coincided with a particularly foggy day and thus created the weird weather.  Everyone had coughs and sore throats for the next couple of days, probably from breathing all that junk. 

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