Winter – South of the “Border”

IMG_0270 - Version 2 Where do you typically set your thermostat in the winter?  Having just survived our first winter in Yunnan Province, we now have a much greater appreciation for the luxury of simply having a thermostat to set!

Turns out that China can be grouped into the “North” and “South” in several respects.  One way of grouping China is related to whether central heat is available for buildings.  There are differing opinions re: whether the Yellow River or the Yangtze River is actually the right dividing line (“border”) or somewhere in between.

Local shop owners trying to warm up around a sidewalk fire (since it's probably colder inside!)

Local shop owners trying to stay warm around a sidewalk fire (since it’s probably colder inside!)

Either way, Dali is clearly in the South and that means virtually no central heating in the vast majority of buildings (residential and commercial).  So, while the climate is much colder in the North, the people there often manage to stay warmer through the winter than those in the South who have no primary heat source!  Especially those of us at higher elevations and with lower ambient temperatures in the South.

One of our neighbors with their BMW and Mercedes in the carport.

One of our neighbors with their BMW and Mercedes in the carport (not shown is the absence of central heating in their home!).

We estimate the average temperature inside our apartment for the past couple of months (Jan and Feb) fluctuated between the upper 40’s and the lower 50’s.  So, while it rarely dropped below freezing in our town, it still made for a long, cold winter with very few places to warm up.

Another neighbor with their new Range Rover parked outside.

Another neighbor with their new Range Rover.

Yes, space heaters are available and they helped us get through the winter, but they just don’t make a good substitute for central heat.  Naturally, as the days get warmer, we are happy to be able to go without thermal layers, coats and scarfs while studying or relaxing at home!

Yet another neighbor's carport with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo...but only space heat inside the villa (and possibly one wood stove)!

Yet another neighbor’s carport with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo…but only space heat inside the villa (and possibly one wood stove)!

Since this blog is aimed at highlighting fun and relevant differences between life here and “there”, I thought this topic qualified.  I can’t think of many places in the US where a nice new shiny Mercedes, BMW, Range Rover or Porsche can be found parked in the driveway, while the owners might be huddled around a space heater inside!  Such a scenario makes this difference feel more like a cultural difference than an economic one, since I’m pretty sure our neighbors could easily afford central heating.

BTW, it was great to receive several comments on “High Maintenance Horticulture” so I hope you will also let me know if you have thoughts or questions on the observations in this posting.

Copyright © Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2015.  All rights reserved.

3 Comments

  1. Interesting – making me much more thankful for our central heat. Our guests think 67 is cold downstairs. I really thought 57 was cold upstairs the day our central heat was interrupted because of a broken fan. Thanks for insights to let us know more of your daily life in China.

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