The British are often stereotyped for a lot things – we drink a lot of tea, this is true; we all know Queen Lizzie, speaking personally, this is not true; we have terrible teeth, this is only true if you compare us to the beaming white smiles of North Americans, and, amongst countless more, we thoroughly enjoy complaining about the weather. This final one, I am incredibly guilty of, but who can really blame me if I happened to grow up in a country that really did pick the short straw when it came to the forecast.
It’s always raining, it’s usually chilly, but never really chilly enough to warrant snow, and then the one day a year that the weather tips over 20 degrees, we’ve all gotten so used to the cold that we simply have to complain that it’s a bit too hot for us. I won’t even begin to touch upon when Brits make it abroad, what else are we to do if not complain about how bloody hot it is?
Every now and then I get this odd sensation that I miss England, its green rolling hills and that feeling when you walk into a warm pub on a cold day and sit by the fire having a drink and a pie – glorious – but then I remember I live in Asia and I really love it, pies or no pies, pubs or no pubs. However, my friend and I went hiking a few weeks ago for four days straight despite the weather showing torrential downpours and below 10 temperatures for those particular days and no other days in the history and future of weather in Taiwan – of course this would happen to us.
The fainthearted among you might have opted to stay indoors and eat some yummy Taiwanese food, read a book, or enjoy other usual rainy day activities, but, and yes I am blowing my own trumpet, I am not a fainthearted person and a little rain has never stopped me going on a hike before. So away we went, and hiked we did.
Four days of almost constant rain later and I can hand on heart say that I had never felt more at home in Taiwan for the simple fact that I could quite easily have mistakenly been rambling through the British countryside, albeit with far fewer sheep, far fewer pubs, and far more Taiwanese people. But, 7000 miles or so away, and a hike in the rain is exactly the same. The only difference is I don’t have quite the same equipment for a cold and rainy hike given that I thought I was moving to a tropical island. Instead, Shannon and I sported some stylish head to toe plastic rain ponchos that we quickly purchased in 7/11 before we started hiking. Ever the style icons…
Admittedly, whilst I do love to complain about the weather, much like the rest of the UK, I will also quite happily endure the elements, much like the rest of the UK. Yes, BBQ and T shirt weather for us is anything above about 16 degrees, and will I cancel my plans on a Friday night if it’s chucking it down with rain or even threatening to snow..? no, I probably won’t (don’t hold me to this one).
Hiking in the rain and cold and wind also brings with it such a greater sense of achievement than hiking on a warm, sunny day with minimal chances of you getting lost or falling over (NB: note that I said ‘you’ specifically, and not myself, because I get lost and fall over whatever the weather.)