It's been hot in China. Really, really hot. For the last 24 days the temperature in Shanghai, for instance, hasn't dropped below 95. This isn't a dry heat, either: think Atlanta, not Phoenix. The current heat wave -- which is expected to continue into the first part of August -- has already claimed 11 lives in the city and has had an effect on business.
In a crowded country where many homes lack air conditioning, China's people have to get creative in order to escape the heat. One option is public pools -- but these can get a little crowded. How crowded? Consider this image, from an artificial pool in Suining, Sichuan Province, which looks like it could have come from Where's Waldo.
A school gym in Wuhan, like Shanghai one of China's famously hot "furnance cities", doubled as an impromptu dormitory for dozens of students:
Then, in Shanghai, there are the nicely air-conditioned subway stations:
One group that has not kept its sense of humor about the heat is the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Annoyed at myriad reports exaggerating the temperature (which, they dutifully reminded us, never exceeded a still-completely-ridiculous 106 degrees), the Bureau has begun fining citizens for promoting and spreading "unauthorized weather reports."
In the 20th century, porches couldn’t compete with TV and air conditioning. Now this classic feature of American homes is staging a comeback as something more stylish and image-conscious than ever before.