The Perils of Winter Clothing

I arrived at Harbin Airport all decked out in my winter finest.

I have to change, but the airport bathrooms are…well, not as nice as the ones in Shanghai. Certainly wouldn’t want to pull off all your winter gear in there.

So, I do the next best thing – find our gate and then pull off all the winter gear, as much as I can (of course!) in front of the waiting passengers and the arriving passengers, who are passing just on the other side of the glass partition. Of course, four girls and a guy wiggling out of layers of clothing upon clothing is better pre-flight entertainment than even a Korean drama downloaded to your iPad. We weren’t the first ones to have to do this, and we wouldn’t be the last, judging by the state of the bathrooms.

To take off the final thermal layer, I made the choice to visit the bathroom. It was either that or sweat profusely through the very warm flight coming up.

For all the freezing cold temps outside in Harbin, all of the inside places were blazing hot. I ended up sleeping in a tank top and shorts in the hotel room – even after we’d turned the heat off. The flights were no exception.

After nearly hip-checking a girl about to steal the open stall, I locked myself in and did an intricate ballet of not touching the who-knows-what’s-on-it floor. I gingerly took off my gym shoes and stood on them to avoid it, and then shimmied off one layer, hanging them on the door. Then came the tight thermal layer, which made it very fun to balance on top of my shoes. By time I’d peeled those off, impatient people were knocking (trans. pounding) on the door.

I very gently got into my jeans again and carefully pushed my feet into my shoes. Lastly, I managed to tie them well enough so I didn’t trip trying to avoid She-Who-Pounds-On-Doors once I opened it up.

When I walked out with a pair of pants clearly dangling from my arms, it made them all glance down to  reassure themselves that I, indeed, still was wearing pants.

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