6

A Southern California winter.

When I was in India, and packing for my move to USA as a brand new Grad student, I realized I had to buy new winter clothes, for things like ice, snow, sleet, etc. I imagined myself sashaying down the road in a beige trenchcoat with sky high boots and a red beanie perched on my head. But all the expectations went for a toss when I realized San Diego is a part of southern California and it’s a paradise in the big bad world of America. I spoke to a senior who was already there since a year and she told me that I will rarely need warm clothes. So I happily carried ONE sweatshirt and one beanie and muffler that my friend had knitted for me.

I wish I could bury that senior in cold sand and put a brick of ice on top. What she did not tell me was that San Diego weather has a mind of it’s own. It is paradise, but only from 10 am to 3 pm, and that too only from June to August. The rest of the time, you will be fighting between too much sun and too much wind.

Let me take you through a snapshot of SoCal winters. For the ease of writing, we will refer to the bo*ty shorts and puffer jacket wearing species as SoCalnian.

  1. When a SoCalnian says Fall colors, they mean 2 shades of brown. Light brown, and dead brown.
  2. It is normal to see a SoCalnian step out of the home, in the morning in shorts, and keep a thin hoodie, and a thick jacket in the car. Both of them come out eventually depending on the hour.
  3. The same hoodie and jacket rule is dependent on the area too. It could be a beautiful 70 deg weather, but go close to the Pacific Ocean, and you will freeze you b*tt off.
  4. A SoCalnian never takes wind lightly. And after my last Malibu camping trip, Brian has re-learnt that(His tent flew away!)
  5. We do love our boots, and we are lucky enough weather-wise to be able to rock mini skirts with boots. But no socks with sandals, please.
  6. You can have a perfect sunny day in San Diego and a massive snow blow out going on 2 hours away at Julian/Big Bear, at the same time.
  7. SoCal and NorCal are on opposite ends of a spectrum. NorCal looks, feels, and is cold, whereas SoCal has everyone hoodwinked by looking warm.
  8. Rainy season hits in the middle of winter, and if there isnt a drought, then it rains, to ruin your weekends.( I am only kidding rain Gods, please dont flood Mission Valley!)
  9. You can tell apart a SoCalnian and non-SoCalnian at any tourist point, by the souvenir hoodie they are wearing. Sudden winds prompt emergency souvenir purchases.
  10. A SoCalnian can talk about the weather every single day at breakfast, lunch or dinner, because it changes by breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can also range from 21 deg C today to 29 deg C by Wednesday. I just checked the weather app.
However it is, or whatever it is, I love this place! I was not paid by San Diego tourism board to say this all, although, I do not mind that.
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8

Of sun, snow and crazy floods

It is a pleasant 14-15 deg C outside. Rest of the USA is freezing under the insanely cold Arctic winds. It is pretty much a 100 deg difference between Chicago and Southern California. Gotta love SoCal! I stepped outside last Saturday in my gym shorts to do my groceries. It felt amazing in the lovely cool weather to have the sun rays splashing on my skin. It just makes me so happy to get warmed up by sun.

But I am also jealous of the mid-west to the east coast! So many people are contacting me if I am okay, or warm enough and to take care. It is almost an anti-climax when I tell them I am sitting in my room with my small fan on. Gee, by the sound of their voices, it definitely feels like I let them down or something. Hey! I don’t control the temperatures!

My friend Mo left USA for India 2 days back and yesterday her city Atlanta experienced 3 in of snow, which is rare for Georgia. Apparently, all hell broke loose! There were choked up traffic jams, people had to sleep in offices, kids in malls and stores. School buses, ambulances, cars were struck. People from her office left after a day and had to sleep there itself. She just escaped the whole tamasha. I almost feel she should have experienced that, just because it will be a great story to tell! Mo, please don’t kill me for this! 😉

Well, I always feel whenever something happens, people only say ‘we just missed it by a week, a day, an hour.’ I am glad it is like that, but I would like to hear something from the horse’e mouth someday. If everyone just missed it, who the hell experienced it??

Well, jokes apart, just the fact that Atlanta went through this mess has made national headlines here. Similar snow fall had happened in 2011 and the city was simply paralysed. They had just 4 equipment to deal with it and the situation was simple way worse that time. I read it is better this time(relatively) because they are well equipped with snow removal equipment now, both in quantity and quality. When I compare this to Mumbai getting stunned by rainfall year after year, I pretty much want to jail the government incharges for life. I can still remember seeing the ambulance stuck in traffic and the driver stepping out to see if there was a way in the rain. It was not even heavy rains. Those were some of my last visuals of Mumbai while going to the airport in June’13. I could only pray for the person inside. Even in Pune, when it is known that every year, there is a period of heavy rain, and normal rain otherwise, why does it wreak havoc on the city? My ground floor house was flooded 5-6 years ago and destroyed a lot of our stuff. Obviously we don’t even expect any compensation. Due to the drain blockage, the rain water was collecting in the building parking lot. We were anxiously watching the water reach the 1st to 3 rd step on the door. And then, I saw disgusting water starting to come out of the Indian toilet and bathrooms. Ugggghhhh! And in minutes, the whole apartment had 4 inches of water. Thankfully, foreseeing the rapidly rising water, my mom and I had started to pile up stuff on the dining table and on top of the bed and other higher levels and let her tuition kids go home. But the clothes, beddings, stuff kept in the bed storage, was pretty ruined. I tripped and fell in that gross water while picking up my confused dog to take him upstairs to my neighbors. The water receded after a couple of hours and my dad, after coming home from work, promptly got into cleaning with my mom and neighbor aunties. He is one crazy fellow. He went to show people the hole in the backyard wall he had made to let the water flow away, and every time ended with his chappal flowing away and he splashing around to retrieve it. Crazy!

My mom and I slept at the neighbors’ place for the night, while my dad slept at my place in the living room. We had to keep the windows open to let the stink go away and poor dad had to volunteer for security. Haha! Now my parents, empty out the bottom drawers of the cupboards every year before monsoon. We are really looking forward to moving to our 4th floor new apartment soon and avoiding this whole drama.

Needless to say, that day, I was very busy taking care of my dog’s tummy rubs, so I pretty much did nothing to help.