Day trip to Charlotte

You can tell that summer in Houston is just around the corner. No, it's not the profuse green foliage that has overtaken the city or the steadily rising heat and humidity... it's the air conditioning! With less "padding" than I used to have, I'm now more sensitive than ever to the widespread use of Artic temperatures in any controlled climate. This was evident last week during a training class at our office (it was 66 degrees with a slightly southerly breeze in my office) and this morning on my way to the airport. From the towncar to the terminal and, surely, in the plane, air conditioners are cranking away at temperatures worthy of summertime in Dubai or Dhahran. Such is life in Houston - if you live in a subtropical climate, you have to accept that most places will go overboard with overwhelming amounts of air conditioning.

If you're coming to Houston from outside of the state, you can prepare yourself for the summertime heat but I say prepare yourself for the summertime A/C. Expect to walk into offices, Starbucks and Pottery Barn and feel the cool penetrate your cool summer clothes. Get ready for your arms to cramp up as you walk around with your arms crossed, trying to make use of a little bit of body heat. If you see anyone walking around with a sweater draped over their shoulders, you can reasonably suspect them to be European as they try to deal with the extreme differences in A/C usage between the continents. Granted, you have Italy or France with spare use of air conditioning (loose term, at that) and then you have Houston with compartmentalized arctic fronts. You can imagine they're just trying to cope.

It's now 6:04 AM in the Continental President's Club in Terminal B at Intercontinental Airport. When I got here about 15 minutes ago, the few travelers who had arrived early looked like extras from Night of the Living Dead. There are signs of life as the coffee flows freely. I'm heading to Charlotte today for a quick day trip. I haven't been to North Carolina since the mid-80s when my grandparent's lived in Hendersonville, a hilly town west of Asheville. It's not that I'll get to see anything today save for a passing view of downtown, a couple of interstates and two major corporations. Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of a reason to make it back to Charlotte for a long day trip.

Happy travels!

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