Snow Day in Subtropical Kunming


Snow in Kunming!

Last year while still living in Miami, I researched Kunming seasonal weather and was quite content with the prospect of winter temperatures averaging between 40°F to 50°F … to over 60°F on mostly sunny afternoons.

But Murphy Law seems to work pretty consistently for me, so it turns out I moved to Kunming on an anomalous year, and last week’s Tibetan cold front produced the coldest weather recorded since reliable airport records were first kept here in 1994.

Overnight temperatures have been around 28°F and we’ve had plug-in oil radiators running round the clock in our otherwise unheated apartment .

In the rehab gym at the Tongren Hospital, not to mention every other building in Kunming, there is no central heating nor space heaters, because people here are accustomed to moderate winters.  So the gym has been around 40°F during the daytime while I am working out. Needless to say, I put on multiple layers of clothing before wheeling about quarter of a mile to the hospital.

And next came snow … to “eternal spring” Kunming!

I woke up one morning last week to find our garden covered with about four inches of snow.  Having lived previously in The Bahamas and Miami, I had not seen snow in many years and certainly have never driven my wheelchair through snow.  As my caregivers and I set out for the gym a few days ago, sub-tropical Kunming was a winter wonderland.


With Xiao Lin at 7 a.m. in our garden heading to the gym

suptropical-snowday suptropical-snowmorning

Kunming Winter Wonderland … early and later

Snow Yoga

Tiffany practicing yoga as as snowfall begins …

On my way to the hospital, I saw lots of children rolling around in the snow and building snowmen and throwing snowballs at one another.  Guess this is universal with kids.  And what a fine, slow-moving target I make!  Luckily, one snowball cleared my head by no more than an inch.

Other than the hospital gym being freezing cold while working out, what a lovely surprise have one day of snow, which promptly melted by the afternoon when the temperature soared above 50°.  After all, we’re in peak strawberry season here right now!

Christmas in China

Over the weekend, I went into the city center with my sister.  This was the first time I’ve been out since the pain became intolerable in August, so I think I must be making some progress with the new pain strategy I’ve mapped out with Dad.

Chinese Gingerbread House

With Tiffany at the Wyndam Hotel’s life-size gingerbread house!

I was amazed at how Christmas-festive all the stores looked, especially considering that the Chinese might seem to have little first-hand experience with Christmas.  Lovely decorations included a life-sized gingerbread house at the Wyndham Hotel, and in a department store traditional Christmas carols were being sung in both English and Chinese.  “Oh Come all Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” come off better in Chinese than one might imagine, especially when the singer is actually talented.

Closer to base, Dr. Zhu and the hospital staff made a commendable effort at decorating the gym with a little Christmas tree and presents underneath.  Suzanne Edwards and I were the lucky models to pose for the picture.


With fellow Tongren model Suzanne!

This year I will be spending Christmas with my Mom and Dad and sister Tiffany plus Tiffany’s boyfriend, Motts, who arrived early this morning from Raleigh, North Carolina.   And what a trip he had … Raleigh to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Bangkok and finally to Kunming, arriving at 5:30 this morning … 22 hours under way.  Tiffany went out to the airport this morning with our London Taxi to pick him up, and we’re really happy to have Motts with us.

We have actually put up a little Christmas tree in the house and plan on having smoked salmon instead of turkey for Christmas dinner.  I will post photos to the blog after Christmas.

Finally, but not at all the least … here’s to wishing my readers a memorable Christmas and Happy Holidays wherever you happen to be this year.

6 responses »

  1. Ali,
    Thank you for sharing the Ingersoll Christmas journey with us all. We are with you in spirit and toasted you last night as we gathered with 90 others ( some regulars and some new faces) at FBV for christmas Eve diner. You are much loved and missed here by all. Love to you and your family from ours except Steve who never made it here as he is in RI working!!! Love, Barbara

  2. Ali,
    what a wonderful uplifting message, and it must be the real Christmas thing. Love to your whole Family and enjoy a Chinese Xmas. In Cat Island it is raining this morning and I am sure everyone here sends their best wishes for 2014. Keep up the good work, and I am sure it will pay off. love Nick

  3. Merry Christmas to everyone in Kunming. Hope you have a beautiful, although chilly, day. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love. 🎄⛄

  4. I am rather late to reading this entry. The snow pics are lovely and I love your winter layers and hats! We miss you so much! Hugs and kisses from Coco.

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