Photo: Winter at the Summer Palace

What’s that you say? Why is the photo of the week one of wintry characteristics during a summer of sunshine and lollipops? Well, I think they generally call it wishful thinking. This week in Shanghai, the temperature is—technically speaking—hotter than an angry goat’s hoof in the noonday Tennessee sun. You might be wondering what I look like after walking up six flights of steps to get to my desk in the morning, and I’m glad you asked, because I will tell you what I look like: a six-foot tall cat sulking in a post-bath funk—harried, miserable and pissed at the world. And though the air conditioning in the office blows with the force of a vengeful Shanghai sunshine, I imagine that I am skiing through a snow-covered Huang Shan forest or sliding in a speedo down the ice slide at the Harbin Ice Festival or some other such thing. It is glorious to dream. Which brings us to Summer Palace in the wake of a winter dusting and makes me think of cooler times when I didn’t perspire like a recent college graduate interviewing for the position of Cerberus’ keeper. On days like today, in weeks like these, during a season like this, I would gladly—Nay! Enthusiastically!—take a voluntary polar bear plunge (panda bear plunge?). We can always dream.

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