Weather and Climate (Episode 12)
In this episode, we took our podcast and wine-drinking outdoors! On a rare beautiful April day in Prague, we made a podcast in a nearby park and dedicated it to how the weather and climate has been for us throughout our travels. In this episode, we talk about things like:
- Our shock in discovering the humidity and heat in Thailand
- Our students in Thailand loved to wear ridiculous things in hot weather, like parkas, hats, and gloves
- The experience of the rainy, cool, and hot seasons in Thailand
- Our hottest moments in Thailand and Vietnam
- What it's like attempting--and completely failing-- to function without air conditioners in Southeast Asia
- What the four seasons in really like in different parts of South Korea and Japan
- The hottest place in Vietnam and our experience with it
- What Taiwan weather is like
- How Prague's weather has been for us (from January to April)
- What our favorite place in the world has been for weather
And plenty more! We tried to make the subject of weather as interesting as possible for you guys because, although it has a reputation of being a boring subject matter, it is very important to pay attention to, especially if you are traveling!
You can check out our blog post with plenty of pictures of the places we talk about below!
Thank you so much for listening! Cheers and happy travels!
Wine: Brise de France - Merlot (France)
Our first reactions to Thailand's climate? Complete and udder shock. It was unlike any other humidity and warmth we'd ever experienced. And, it wasn't even that hot for Thailand when we got there! Since the rainy season typically ends and the "cool" season begins in October there and that's when we arrived, it technically wasn't that hot, for Thailand at least.
During that month and a couple of months or so after that, we noticed some interesting wardrobe choices from our students. Since it was "cooler" then, the students actually wore coats and jackets-- in humid 80-90 degree weather! They would constantly come up to us in their parkas, complaining about them being cold. Meanwhile, we were dripping sweat under the air conditioners!
After those first couple of months, though, the temperatures and heat index really rose dramatically. One day in March, one of our co-workers told us that it was 120 degrees with the heat index! It was 100, but felt like 120. Yikes!
The hottest moment that I personally experienced in Thailand was one specific day when we went to our normal lunch spot near our school. There were a lot of people eating there at that time, so we were forced to sit inside and in the corner, which we usually didn't do because it was easily the hottest spot to sit in the restaurant. We noticed immediately that it was unbearably hot in that corner. Before we even ordered, we were dripping sweat. We couldn't focus on anything else but how hot we were. We weren't even sure we could make it until our food arrived! When it did, we quickly ate most of our food, left our money on the table, and ran outside-- yes, it was cooler outside than in!
Walking home from our school was rough, too. Even though it was only about a 10 minute walk, it felt like an eternity because of how hot it was. So, those daily moments were also our hottest moments.
Two words: constant swamp-ass.
We also were unable to ever turn off our air conditioner in our apartment. Multiple people had told us that we could sleep without it. We tried that once and what a fail that was! We woke up in the middle of the night, soaked in sweat, and turned the air conditioner back on and pretty much never turned it off again!
We once tried to stay in a hostel with a friend that didn't have an air conditioner in Kanchanaburi (where the bridge over the River Kwai is located). But, we couldn't stand the heat then either, so we went to a different hotel that had air conditioning and stayed there instead! It was that stifling without an air conditioner.
The end of the rainy season was interesting to experience, though! When it rained, which actually wasn't that often, it rained. Everything was hardly visible it would so heavily rain. It did conveniently cool off everything, though.
So, they have four seasons. Surprise! But, their seasons are a bit milder than in New York. It was actually hotter for longer there-- all the way into November! But, suddenly, with hardly any transition at all, it was winter. Fall just didn't happen.
We experienced winter there and, because we hate winter, didn't really enjoy it. It made us actually long for Thailand's weather!
When we went to Busan for New Year's, though, it was actually 15 or so degrees warmer than where we were living in in Sejong, so that was a nice change of pace.
We knew that it was going to be exceptionally warm like Thailand, so we were prepared for it. It was hot, humid, and stifling, just as we thought, but we welcomed it with open arms after experiencing winter in Korea.
So, no surprise here: we aren't winter people.
Undoubtedly, there were a few times where we felt overwhelmingly hot. One time, we went on vacation for a week to Phu Quoc, which is an island off the coast of Cambodia, but belongs to Vietnam. When we returned to our apartment in Ho Chi Minh City, our apartment felt like an oven. Since the air conditioner hadn't been on, which it always was when we were there, and the shades were open, the apartment became stifling since we had left. For hours, we were sitting and dripping in our apartment with the air conditioner on, waiting for it to finally get cool. Matt shaved his head that day because he was so hot. Eventually, it did cool off, though.
On a separate occasion, our air conditioner broke during the night. Since our landlord was the worst and didn't answer our emails for help, we were forced to spend the night in some dingy hotel on Bui Vien, the backpacker street, because it was just that hot in our apartment. It was an awful hotel. There were holes in the ceiling, the air conditioner wasn't even that great, the blankets weren't all that clean, and there were most likely bedbugs.
The next day, our air conditioner was still broken, but we had to work in our apartment. Out of desperation, we stole keys for the empty apartment next door to us, which were conveniently in the unlocked attic of our building. We dragged an ethernet cable across the hall, so one of us could work in that room, while the other worked and sweated in our room. It was quite the predicament!
Someone did eventually come to fix our air conditioner. He shrugged his shoulders at first, then flipped a switch that was right next to our front door and our air conditioner turned on and ran perfectly! We didn't feel very intelligent at that very moment, but at least our air conditioner was working!
So! If you are in Southeast Asia and your air conditioner doesn't work, make sure the switch on the wall is on!
Anyway, during the rainy season, we noticed that most afternoons began with dark and stormy clouds. Just like Thailand, though, it didn't rain that often. But, when it did, it was seriously heavy rain.
One of our hottest moments was when we were backpacking in Vietnam. We were in Hue and left our hotel to try to explore. But, after walking for just a minute, we realized that it was way too hot for us to be safely outdoors and gallivanting. So, we quickly turned around and went back to our hotel room to sit in the air conditioning until night time.
We checked the temperature and, with the heat index, it was 126 degrees. The highest we'd ever experienced.
We asked the girl at the front desk of our hotel what the hottest place in Vietnam is and she confirmed our suspicions: Hue.
They have four seasons! Again, surprise! But, when we arrived in Osaka in August, it was just as hot as it was in Vietnam. When September came around, it was just as hot as it was in August! We were wondering to ourselves when it was going to cool off, and it didn't until almost the end of October.
In Tokyo, it was still relatively warm in September, which reminded us of the similar New York weather during that time. In Okinawa, however, it was hot in mid-October. Summer hot. It is an island off the southern coast of Japan, so that makes sense for it to be so warm there. But, the weather was beautiful there, since it was a small island. It was hot, but there was this constant sea breeze everywhere you went. It did also rain two out of the three days we were there, though. So, Okinawa certainly had the typical island weather!
Since Taiwan is an island in the middle of the ocean pretty much, it also has that typical island weather. However, as it turns out, Taiwan has the nicest and most consistent weather of all the places we've been to! It's never cold there, it sometimes rains of course, but it's usually in the 70s or higher, depending on the season.
When we were there in November, it was beautiful! Even though the weather app would tell us that it would rain every day, it almost never did.
When we first came to Prague in January, it was freezing and snowy and really miserable. Until we made this podcast episode, it had been mostly cold-- and we made this at the end of April! However, there were some random days where it was warm, like the day we recorded this podcast. Spring and summer should roll around soon, though. Fingers crossed!
We noticed that when it's really nice outside, people really come out of hibernation and enjoy the day! They run, bike, drink, smoke, and just chill in parks everywhere. It's a great experience for sure.
San Jose, California
But, what was a specific place that had the nicest weather we've ever experienced? Surprise-- San Jose, California! It's warm throughout the day in the summer, reaching the nineties, but there is no humidity at all. None! And, if we know anything about humidity, it's that it sucks, but when there's none in the summer, it's the absolute best!
Then, at night, it's in the 60s or 70s. Perfect!
We even went running outside a couple of times during the day, but we didn't sweat at all-- even in 90-degree weather! All because there was no humidity. It was dream-like.
We've both come to the conclusion that we never want to live in a place that has winter ever again. Places that are constantly warm just make us significantly happier people and they have this almost blanket of positive energy over everyone and everything. In most of the hotter countries/places we've been, we've noticed it-- and it's not just us! The people around us tend to be more friendly, laid-back, and overall happy, too.
Thank you so much for reading and/or listening! We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below about your favorite or least favorite weather/climates you've experienced in your travels!
Thanks again and happy travels and wine-drinking!
Wine: Brise de France - Merlot (France)